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The Origins of Easter Traditions and Symbols

What Christian Teens Should Know Before They Celebrate

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Many Christian teens celebrate Easter each year with little thought to the origins of certain traditions. While some critics of Christianity point to the pagan origin of many Easter traditions, many have been made into purely Christian or benign celebrations.

The Controversy Over Some Traditions

Adoption of commonly used symbols by the people of God has been going on since the time of Abraham and Moses. Many Christians believe that understanding the origin does not take away from using the traditions to celebrate your faith, but may even enhance your understanding of why we celebrate certain holidays or use certain symbols to demonstrate our faith in the first place. However, there are also some Christian critics that believe taking part in many of these traditions can lead people away from true faith.

How Easter Got Its Name

No one is fully sure of how Easter came to be called "Easter." However, a 7th century English scholar, Bede, did claim that Easter is a derived from the name of the Anglo-Saxon goddess Eostre (associated with Spring and fertility).

When Easter is Celebrated

Easter is a Christian holiday, and it is always celebrated around the Jewish Passover. In the Bible, the last supper was part of that Passover celebration. Though the events that precipitated the two holidays are closely linked in the New Testament, they usually do not fall in that order on our modern calendars. This is because two different calculations are used to determine the dates for Passover and Easter. Some also say that Easter was moved to coincide with the Anglo-Saxon celebration of Eostre.

Easter Bunny

While much of the legend surrounding the Easter bunny come from modern day stories like Peter Cottontail, the use of a hare or rabbit goes back to Celtic paganism. The hare, or rabbit, was a symbol of new life to pagans, so it was adopted by early Christians to represent the new life in Christ. The early use of the bunny as a symbol of easter occurred in German writings during the 1500s.

Easter Eggs

The egg has a long history of being part of creation theories and celebrations. The Easter egg is not a Christian tradition, but instead it is believed that they came from Druidic celebrations of Spring. Dyed eggs were also used by Egyptians, Persians, Greeks, and Romans during spring festivals. Christians adopted the eggs and used them to represent rebirth and resurrection.

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