THE Bible is not the source of popular religious and secular holidays that are celebrated in many parts of the world today. What, then, is the origin of such celebrations? If you have access to a library, you will find it interesting to note what reference books say about holidays that are popular where you live. Consider a few examples.
Easter. “There is no indication of the observance of the Easter festival in the New Testament,” states The Encyclopædia Britannica. How did Easter get started? It is rooted in pagan worship. While this holiday is supposed to commemorate Jesus’ resurrection, the customs associated with the Easter season are not Christian. For instance, concerning the popular “Easter bunny,” The Catholic Encyclopedia says: “The rabbit is a pagan symbol and has always been an emblem of fertility.”
New Year’s Celebrations. The date and customs associated with New Year’s celebrations vary from one country to another. Regarding the origin of this celebration, The World Book Encyclopedia states: “The Roman ruler Julius Caesar established January 1 as New Year’s Day in 46 B.C. The Romans dedicated this day to Janus, the god of gates, doors, and beginnings. The month of January was named after Janus, who had two faces—one looking forward and the other looking backward.” So New Year’s celebrations are founded on pagan traditions.
Halloween. The Encyclopedia Americana says: “Elements of the customs connected with Halloween can be traced to a Druid [ancient Celtic priesthood] ceremony in pre-Christian times. The Celts had festivals for two major gods—a sun god and a god of the dead . . . , whose festival was held on November 1, the beginning of the Celtic New Year. The festival of the dead was gradually incorporated into Christian ritual.”
Other Holidays. It is not possible to discuss all the observances held throughout the world. However, holidays that exalt humans or human organizations are not acceptable to Jehovah. (Jeremiah 17:5-7; Acts 10:25, 26) Keep in mind, too, that the origin of religious celebrations has a bearing on whether they please God or not. (Isaiah 52:11; Revelation 18:4) The Bible principles mentioned in Chapter 16 of this book will help you to determine how God views participation in holidays of a secular nature.