The Union Recorder

Letters

April 7, 2012

Many Easter symbols have pagan origins

MILLEDGEVILLE — Eggs, rabbits and hot cross buns are Easter symbols familiar to us all, yet many of us might be shocked or surprised at the real origin and meaning of many of our allegedly “Christian” Easter customs.

Nearly all of the symbols and customs involved in the modern Christian observance of Easter are actually not Christian at all, but derive from ancient pagan European mythology and superstition. The ancient pagan symbols have simply been taken over into mainstream Christianity and given a pseudo-Christian veneer.

In Germany, a mixture of eggs, bread and flour was smeared on a plow on the Thursday before Easter so that the coming harvest would be plentiful.

Hot cross buns are another symbol associated with Easter, and along with Easter candy, pastries make a high-calorie holiday. Hot cross buns also go back to pagan offerings on ancient holy days. The cross probably replacing pagan symbols or images.

“As in so many other instances where pagan ritual was Christianized nothing is more likely than that the cakes used at pagan festivals become, by an easy transition, cakes associated with Christian festivals. Among cakes which may have had this history may be mentioned Yule cakes... hot cross buns on good Friday, Easter cakes...” (Hastings Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, Vol. II, pp. 60-61).

Many modern Christians doubtless feel that these pagan customs have little or nothing to do with their actual Christian faith in Jesus Christ as their resurrected Savior. Yet, do not these customs and symbols obscure, especially for children, the real meaning of the death of Christ and the true symbolism associated with it — bread and wine (Matt. 26:26-28). If you paint eggs this year and roll them across the lawn, you might want to think about it.

Thomas Fuller

Milledgeville

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