CanadaInfo Navigator Bar


Christmas and Easter are two times in Canada that you can count on a full Church Sunday morning. Christians (Catholic & Protestant) gather to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Certainly this is not unique to Canada as millions of Christians around the world participate, but it is significant to millions of Canadians.


Easter in Canada

The genesis of Easter was rooted in pagan gods that were worshiped prior to Canada's existance, but for Canada Easter began and continues to be celebrated as a Christian event. Obviously not all Canadians believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ, but that doesn't change the roots of the Canadian holiday.

The vast majority of non-Christian Canadians are very tolerant of this inherently Christian celebration and treat the holiday as a secular "easter bunny" celebration. As well Christian Canadians have always tolerated secular celebrations even when those celebrations sometimes demean their beliefs.

The resurrection of Jesus Christ is and has been central to Christianity since the event took place a little under 2000 years ago. Without the resurrection Christianity loses all credibility.

"If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith." I Corinthians 15:13&14

Easter Traditions

These have been derived primarily from Pagan traditions at Easter time:
  • Hot Cross Buns: At the feast of Eostre, the Saxon fertility Goddess, an ox was sacrificed. The ox's horns became a symbol for the feast. They were carved into the ritual bread. Thus originated "hot cross buns". The word "buns" is derived from the Saxon word "boun" which means "sacred ox." Later, the symbol of a symmetrical cross was used to decorate the buns; the cross represent the moon, the heavenly body associated with the Goddess, and its four quarters.

  • Easter Rabbit and Eggs: The symbols of the Norse Goddess Ostara were the hare and the egg. Both represented fertility. From these, we have inherited the customs and symbols of the Easter egg and Easter rabbit. Dyed eggs also formed part of the rituals of the Babylonian mystery religions. Eggs "were sacred to many ancient civilizations and formed an integral part of religious ceremonies in Egypt and the Orient. Dyed eggs were hung in Egyptian temples, and the eg was regarded as the emblem of regenerative life proceeding from the mouth of the great Egyptian god."

  • Easter Lilies: "The so-called 'Easter lily' has long been revered by pagans of various lands as a holy symbol associated with the reproductive organs. It was considered a phallic symbol!"

  • Easter Sunrise Service: This custom can be traced back to the ancient Pagan custom of welcoming the sun God at the vernal equinox - when daytime is about to exceed the length of the nighttime. It was a time to "celebrate the return of life and reproduction to animal and plant life as well."

  • Easter Candles: These are sometimes lit in churches on the eve of Easter Sunday. Some commentators believe that these can be directly linked to the Pagan customs of lighting bonfires at this time of year to welcome the rebirth/resurrection of the sun God.

SOURCE: Ontario Consultants on Relgious Tolerance Website
and Marlin Stangland of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.
See also
Canadian Holidays

External Links
"Easter" in the Catholic Encyclopedia

Copyright Craig I.W. Marlatt