Is Easter a pagan holiday?


Full Question

A publication I read claims Easter has its roots in a pagan holiday and rituals and as such ought not to be observed by Christians. Colored eggs were used in rituals associated with a pagan god. If this is true, shouldn't we stop calling the day we celebrate Christ's Resurrection Easter and stop hunting eggs on that day?

Answer

No, because whatever it meant for ancient pagans, for Christians Easter is the celebration of Christ’s Resurrection. The fact that when it was first celebrated the feast of the Resurrection coincided with pagan celebrations doesn’t mean it was derived from them. The Jewish Passover (on which Christ was crucified) also coincided with such celebrations, yet this didn’t mean it was pagan.

As for Easter eggs, there’s nothing wrong with painting or hunting them on Easter--provided the real meaning of the day isn’t lost. As with the days of the week (the names of which are of pagan origin), any peculiarly pagan significance attached to Easter eggs was forgotten centuries ago.


Catholic Answers Staff