In ancient times, the first day of the week immediately following the first full moon after the spring equinox was set aside as the festival of Astarte or Ishtar (pronounced Easter), the moon goddess. This is why the day moves around each year. Astarte (also called Ashtoreth or Ashtaroth), according to pagan mythology, is the wife of Baal (also called Sol), the sun god. The festival in her honor was established as a celebration of the earth’s rejuvenation after winter. In honor of the day, the ancient idolaters fornicated (had sex outside of marriage) because it was considered a time of reproduction. This is how the rabbit and the egg, symbols of reproduction, became associated with Easter.
Astarte and Baal had a son named Tammuz, who was killed by a wild pig. To mourn Tammuz, Astarte, who held the title “queen of heaven”, called for her followers to give up meat or any other thing that gave them pleasure for forty days before the festival. In the days before the forty day period started, they participated in wild parties of drunkenness and lewd behavior. During the forty days they often made cakes to eat in honor of Astarte and Tammuz. Then on the feast day, a pig would be eaten since a pig killed Tammuz. The rituals for Easter were to begin at sunrise with her worshippers facing the east.
Worshipping the queen of heaven is one of the things that angered God against ancient Israel (see Jeremiah 44:17-27). They also defiled God’s temple by worshipping Tammuz and Baal there (see Ezekiel 8:14-16).
Our churches claim that this season is in honor of Christ, but based on all of the pagan symbolism involved, I beg to differ. Christ was crucified right after passover, during the days of unleavened bread. According to the scriptures, passover is celebrated the 14th day of the month Abib (April) followed immediately by the days of unleavened bread which last until the 21st of the month (Numbers 28:16-18; Deuteronomy 16:1-8). Passover is also celebrated with a lamb, not a ham! So Christ was resurrected the first day of the week that followed passover, not on Easter, which is always the first Sunday following the first full moon after the spring equinox. Sometimes they coincide, but not all the time.
Clearly, lent and Easter and everything associated with them are remnants of idolatry. It is often argued that these type of celebrations are harmless since Christian symbolisms have now been assigned to replace the pagan meanings. Maybe mankind accepts them, but God does not. He has always and will always hate pagan rituals, even if we attempt to “Christianize” them. “Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them. For the customs of the people are vain …” (Jeremiah 10:2-3a). If their customs are vain, why should Christians adopt them at all? God hates it when we try to teach the fear of God with the doctrines of men–
“Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” (Mark 7:7)
“Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments [principles and customs] of the world, and not after Christ. … Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances, … after the commandments and doctrines of men?” (Colossians 2:8, 20, 22)