76 15

How would you explain Easter without referreing it to as the ressurection of Christ?

I've a 3 1/2 year old. Being a single mother and due to my financial situation I live with my super religious parents. I've already given in to allowing my mom to take her for "Sunday School" most because I thought she could meet other children there. With the upcoming Easter holidays I'm begining to wonder how I can explain to my daughter what Easter is without bringing religion in to it. I'm sure she will get a religious explanation in church but I'd like to counter that with a non-religious one. Mostly, I just want her to think for herself and ask questions. I live in a small city in India and other than my brother I have yet to meet another atheist. I've met a lot of people who say "I don't believe in god" simply because they are angry at god because things didn't go as planned not because they really question his existence.

Any suggestions would be more than welcome!

JenniferRoberts 4 Mar 11

Post a comment Reply Add Photo

Enjoy being online again!

Welcome to the community of good people who base their values on evidence and appreciate civil discourse - the social network you will enjoy.

Create your free account


Feel free to reply to any comment by clicking the "Reply" button.


Hmm..I like a challenge. You need to explain to someone who is 3.5 years old easter without mentioning Jesus. Ok how about this:

There was a guy. There is a holiday near the day he died since he was really important. Like a birthday but close to the day he died instead.

But that would be lying to the child. Tell them the truth - pagan festival hijacked by the religiots. It's easier than you think, and helps them on their way to questioning everything.

@GoldenDoll but the holiday pre-dates the pagan methods of practicing it. Which means what I said is the truth.

@engineer_in_nj Not strictly so as one of the oldest rebirth and fertility myths recorded is the Sumerian myth of Innana circa 2100 BCE. Around 1500 years later we find her morphed into Ishtar in Babylonia and grafted on to Pesach or Passover after the Babylonian exile. It is true, however that the connection with Eostre, the Germanic goddess was reported by Bede. She was the deity for the Anglo-Saxon Spring festival with her rites being re-interpreted by Christians replacing it with Passover. I am not aware that we can show that the Eostre rites are pre-Christian but Bede does state that Passover replaces the rites of Eostre so the implication would be that this is so.

@Geoffrey51 so what? Some guy made a claim, that isnt proof of anything. I don't know it seems you are working really hard here to ignore the evidence right in-front of you. Easter is a christian holiday that came from a jewish one, it probably has some pagan roots here and there but its a bit like calling English a derivative of Korean since English has some Korean words. Why is it so hard to take the simple explanation?

We know Passover is ancient. We know that early christians celebrated it like Passover. Lets just leave it like that instead of finding some random mofo somewhere who claims that some group he never met invented a holiday that went backwards in time by some method.

@engineer_in_nj Who is "Some guy [who] made a claim"?


It is an older Pagan holiday called Eostre.

Seriously. The Christian plagiarists did not even try when they stole this one.

It is about Spring and everything growing again.

I said the same. 🙂

@Captnron59 Alexander who?

I heard that Constantine started the replacement of pagan holidays with christian themes. Part of pacifying his failing empire. Pretty much all pagan systems have a vernal equinox holiday. All were wrapped in a thin candy coating and enforced at sword point. Also nearly all have a winter solstice holiday, guess what that became.


I was baptised and brought up a Catholic and did all the chruch stuff growong up but if you teach your daughter how to think and help her develop her critical thinking as she gets older she'll probably come to the same conclusion you have. Being a Catholic didn't do me any harm, if anything it gave me an insight that I wouldn't have otherwise had.

Weird way to get an insight. Like when the beating stops you appreciate not being beaten? I've never been religious - the insight it what you're born with. Religion stops it.

@GoldenDoll I had no say in being brought up a Catholic so it's hardly weird but insight in this case means something I acquired, I understand what they're about more than if I'd never experienced it. So I have an insight into being Catholic but not Zoroastrian although basic tenants of faith obviously apply and as I stated, for what ever reason, I worked out for myself that it didn't make any sense, whether that's nature or nurture is another discussion.

I found your analogy to being beaten, imo, a little glib but perhaps more accurate than you realise. I was the victim of domestic abuse and so again I have an insight into what it feels like to be physically abused and the long term damage, in a variety of ways, that it causes. It is an insight that I could have cheerfully done without but I wasn't born with it.

@ipdg77 I know about catholicism from catholics, and I know about abuse from kids who were abused. Doesn't mean I don't sympathise and understand it, but I would never suggest a child should be beaten so they could have a better insight into abuse.

@GoldenDoll I'm not suggesting that either, I'm not saying you or anyone else should experience being Catholic or being abused to understand it, all I'm saying is I, personally, have a greater understanding of Catholicism and abuse from personal experience that was not of my choosing. In my case being Catholic didn't do me any harm, being abused did (and I don't mean physical) . But I would hope, again and this just my perspective, that my experiences may prove beneficial in some way to someone else through discussion etc


Easter means candy. It's training for the kids, hey you get cool stuff for going to Church. For the adults, it's ponder your suspension of disbelief season. . It's interesting Easter falls on April Fool's Day, this year.

jeffy Level 7 Mar 11, 2018

Interesting, but perfectly appropriate.

The Christ is risen! April Fools!

Yeah, I'm driving my mom crazy telling her Easter is on April Fool's Day...just love it!


Easter started as a spring fertility ritual. Rabbits and eggs have nothing to do with christianity.

Just tell her it was a celebration of spring. The original resurrection was life returning to the world. Plants began to sprout, trees began to bud, animals that were gone all winter came out of hibernation, and birds returned.

JimG Level 8 Mar 11, 2018

@Redcupcoffee ...with a 3 year old?


The truth: It's a pagan holiday celebrating spring's rebirth that got hijacked by the church, to make Xtianity more palateable to pagans they were trying to convert. In a way that yur child can understand. Ex: Easter is a celebration of nature, because the winter is over, and it's time for flowers to bloom.

I needed that more fully explained to me as a kid growing up in NYC...

“Spring” was still quite cold and snowy come March 21, in the days before global warming began it’s runaway greenhousing(!), so it was a long time before I realized how that period of time was considered spring!

February was still the “blizzard month” and as a child, I could see no correlation between Groundhog Day and the start of spring...

Now every winter month seems like the start of spring!

Groundhog Day has more to do with the January Thaw than any real meteorilogical information is concerned.

Just one little untruth in your comment. It wasn't hijacked to make christianity more palateable to the pagans - it was to totally stop paganism, and if you didn't like it, they killed you. They didn't try to convert pagans, there was no choice. There was no PR in the days of old.


Easter is based on the story of the reserection of Jesus. There is no point denying it is based on a religious belief. Just explain to her that some people believe that story and others do not. The easter bunny is based on an old German tradition. Simple honesty is the best approach.

No it's not. It's just another pagan festival hijacked by christians in order to "stamp out" other relgions. Oestre - fertility, etc. You can look it up.

So why didn’t you use simple honesty?

easter is actually based on ishtar, pronounced the same as easter, from scientific american: "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 (or did you actually think eggs and bunnies had anything to do with the resurrection?)" [] the fact that christians coopted the celebration (keeping the name, if not its spelling) doesn't mean that the holiday is "based on" the resurrection of "christ." it means it's been CHANGED to represent that.



I don't see any more issues in explaining the falsity of the Easter bunny, Santa Claus, or God to my child as they are all fictional beings that we tell our kids about to make them feel better.

My kid isn’t into Easter. She doesn’t believe in the Easter Bunny and thinks it’s silly to look for eggs(though she does like coloring them). Plus, she doesn’t like chocolate so we just decorate a small tree with eggs and bunnies and call it a day.

@DelilahJones33 that's awesome. Kind of like a hello Spring Festival.


I would explain that Christians believe it's about the death and resurrection of Jesus, because (as you're already aware) she's going to hear that from a number of sources. Then go on to explain that, way before the time of Jesus, it was a celebration of spring, and can still be that if you want it to be.

Not believing in God is probably more common than you think. I suspect a lot of people cling on to Christianity (and other religions) more for the sense of community than out of any sinceere belief that there's a guy in the sky somewhere, looking after us if we're good and punishing us if we're not. There's too much evidence of the non-existence of an omnipotent and benevolent god for anyone with an ounce of rationality to take that idea seriously. But there's a bit of an "Emperor's new clothes" thing going on. Nobody wants to speak out against doctrine for fear of being ostracised.

This ^.^ right here. Many people are Christian for the social aspects of it. They just don't really speak on that and join in the holidays for family as well.

Emperor's New Clothes...That is such an awesome comparison!


"It's a stupid holiday that you don't even get a day off for. No, you may not have that giant chocolate bunny."

Well, SPRING BREAK is a country-wide gas... And anyone in the education systems, or who worked with schooled kids did get quite a break - 2nd in duration only to summer (of course) and Xmas!

@Ungod Lol, I like that better than my explanation. 🙂


Do NOT allow her t be taken to Sunday school..... nothing good happens in those circles.... and it'll slow her development of critical thinking skills..... which most very religious people are void of.

I went to Sunday school for nearly 15 years, was raised a Christian and was surrounded by extremely religious people. It didn't do me any harm and I'm a hardcore atheist and so is my brother 🙂

@JenniferRoberts Considering the rapidly growing reputation of the Catholic Church as being the largest pedophile ring in the world, I'd say you were very lucky to get out of it unharmed. But, the popes keep saying that the Church's good name is more important than bringing the offenders to justice - so they keep moving them to new parishes in different countries whenever the victims' families start to get wise to their shenanigans.


AprIl Fool's Day !!

Ungod Level 6 Mar 13, 2018

April Fools Day is a Christian spoof on the old Pagan Calandar which began on the Equinox.
Christians eat everything. They absorb all they encounter. They are the Borg

I just like that THIS YEAR they are one and the same!


How about the Easter Bunny ? There are certainly enough celebrations about him at Easter.

Bunnies and eggs are fertility symbols. You can't beat rabbits when it comes to that subject.

@Leafhead The old joke goes: "You can beat your wife, and you can beat your meat, but if you beat your rabbit, it dies."


Btw, we are part of a Unitarian Universalist congregation. The UU church in Detroit (where we used to live) was mostly Humanist. Our new congregation in has more Catholics, but the teachings are all secular. The Religious Education program for children helps to explain a lot of this. You might want to find a UU congragation near you. You could take your daughter to Sunday School on your own terms without coming out to your family right away.

Do they tell the kids the truth? That is was the pagan goddess Oestre's fertility festival hijacked by the christians?

@GoldenDoll yes they do! My son is only 4, but my friend's kids are older and preparing for their coming of age ceremonies. It's very uplifting to hear them discuss what they've leaned. Two already identify as Atheist, and one identifies as polytheistic. All their own choice.


As a lifetime ex catholic, you explain it as a family tradition. "Most of the religious world celebrates this event, and even though we're not religious, we made this holiday a fun family tradition." is what I told my son.

Or you could tell them the truth.


Easter: yet another lame religious ritual without the common decency to be scheduled on a Monday.

See also: vernal equinox.


How would I explain Easter? OK, let's try this in a way that every child will believe it and it fits together. When they took Jesus down from the cross there was a rabbit. He wasn't afraid and he bothered everybody. He wanted to make a bunny trail. Then they put Jesus in the tomb and somebody slit the rabbit's throat and threw him in there too. A guard said "silly rabbit ." no wait. That is something else again.
Then Jesus and the rabbit went off to basic training together. Then they came back.They became good friends and the rabbit had a basket full of eggs. Jesus smiled and carried the rabbit and his basket around everywhere. Eggs were given to the faithful if they could find them. Each year people would watch closely just to see what Jesus and the rabbit were going to do.
But if they see their shadow . . . . . . . . . .

Or just tell them the truth.


Perhaps describe it as a celebration of the return of Spring and all the new born things, i.e., baby animals, budding plants and flowers, trees sprouting new leaves.

Pagan festival of the goddess Oestre.


Easter was a pagan goddess, you could start there.

Oestre, from whom we get our word oestrogen. For once it's all about us girls!


It's a pagan fertility ritual. Made to honor the goddess Esterk



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 (or did you actually think eggs and bunnies had anything to do with the resurrection?)

you didn't answer her question. congratulations.


It's like Christmas or Diwali or.... it's just a cultural holiday

Easter is probably easy. I mean what have bunnies or chocolate eggs got to with Jesus?


Easter is about the Easter Bunny and eggs. Like Xmas, it has long ceased to be religious holiday.

When she gets older, explain to her that Ostara/Eostre was a Celtic/Teutonic holiday to welcome spring. It is about fertility, and rabbits symbolize this. The "Easter" egg has long been a symbol of fertility.


I agree with others on here. Explain the true of origin of Easter. And that it's been represented in many ways over time and in different cultures. At this current time, our time, it is represented as a Christian event. In the past, it wasn't. In the future, it most likely won't be. Some cultures celebrate it, some don't.

I don't know what the true origin of Easter. A quick search on Google resulted in this: []

Write Comment
You can include a link to this post in your posts and comments by including the text q:35682
Agnostic does not evaluate or guarantee the accuracy of any content. Read full disclaimer.