A Hodgepodge of Hogwash

A Hodgepodge of Hogwash

AKA a confused mixture of nonsense.

Let’s play ‘two pagan celebrations and a Christian one’ (like ‘two truths and a lie)—super catchy title, I know. Okay here are the options:

Can you guess which one has roots in the history of Christianity and which ones have roots in pagan festivals?

If you guessed Halloween having roots in the history of Christianity, you are correct!

Easter was originally the celebration of Ishtar, the Assyrian and Babylonian goddess of fertility and sex. Her symbols (like the egg and bunny) were and still are fertility and sex symbols. Easter is also linked to the pagan springtime goddess Eostre. The word Easter does not appear to be derived from Ishtar, but from the German Eostre, the goddess of the dawn—a bringer of light, yet another pagan observance of the changing of seasons.

Halloween or “holy evening”, shortened from All Hallows’ Eve, is the evening vigil before All Saints’ Day, a Catholic religious holiday honoring Christian martyrs. All Saints’ Day celebrations date back to 4th-century Rome, before the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (thought to be the original roots of Halloween), a pagan festival in the 9th century which marked the Celtic New Year, the end of summer, the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter, which they associated with death. The Celts believed the veil between the living and the dead was especially thin. This allowed spirits of the dead to visit the living. It could be said that pagans amalgamated Halloween with their own traditions.

Christmas stems from both the pagan and Roman cultures. December 25th was the festival of Saturnalia, a popular holiday in the Roman Empire that celebrated the Winter solstice as a symbol of the resurgence of the sun. There is absolutely no proof in scripture that Jesus was born on December 25th. There is a lot more proof that it’s likely that He wasn’t. Oh and Christmas trees? Pagans would bring fir trees into their homes at Yuletide because it represented everlasting life and fertility. The Yule tree is decorated to celebrate the return of light after dark days.

Over time, Christianity became the dominant religion in Rome and overtook the previous pagan traditions with their own religious observances. In other words, Christians “redeemed” these pagan traditions by applying their own celebrations to them.

Let’s think on, for a minute, a Christian who won’t carve a pumpkin, open the door to knocking neighbours and go trick or treating in their community with their kids but who WILL put presents under a Christmas tree on behalf of santa and who will hide chocolate for an Easter egg hunt on behalf of the easter bunny for their kids.


My point: it’s all hogwash, pointing fingers. Most of today’s calendar celebrations are a hodgepodge of seasonal, pagan and Christian observances and have become so intertwined it’s hard to find a single thread of origin. Do your own research, read your Bible, build your own convictions. 

Let’s not judge each other for personal and family convictions. If you have judgement in your heart placed on a Christian who does things differently than you; repent. And I mean that. We all have something to repent about.

Jesus wants your heart. What heart posture are you approaching these ancient traditions with? Are they becoming an idol to you? Are they taking away from what really matters? Repent and turn away. Are you attempting to “redeem” them alongside our Christian ancestors? Then go boldly forward, proclaiming the gospel everyday as we are always called to do, as a light like Jesus, in the darkness of this world.

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