Easter, is it pagan or Christian?

Easter is the celebration of the resurrection of Christ from the dead after dying on the cross, originally observed in conjunction with the Jewish Passover, or Pesach. As the culmination of Lent, it is observed sometime between March 22 and April 25, on the first Sunday following the full moon after the spring equinox, established in A.D. 325 by the Council of Nicaea (not necessarily the astronomical full moon, but the ecclesiastical full moon fourteen days after the new moon based on a set vernal equinox of March 21, corresponding to the Gregorian calendar). The Eastern Orthodox Church observes Easter according to the Julian calendar. Although celebrated for one day, it generally lasts for fifty days until Pentecost, when the Church was empowered by the Holy Spirit to preach the gospel (Acts 2:1-41). According to Bede, a seventh-century Anglo-Saxon historian, the name Easter is a term derived from the Teutonic goddess of spring and fertility, named Eostra (also the Scandinavian Oestre or German Eastre), based on the celebration of Christ's resurrection during the vernal equinox of spring. As with Christmas, Easter is an attempt by the early Christian Church to adapt pagan festivals to Christian holy days in an attempt to supplant them, with the side effects being some rather bizarre traditions.

The most popular secular practice of Easter is hiding and finding decorated eggs, which comes from an ancient Roman tradition of exchanging boiled and decorated eggs in the springtime as a symbol of rebirth. The egg later became a symbol of Christ's rebirth from the tomb. Although eggs weren't normally allowed to be eaten during Lent, various allowances, particularly indulgences, fostered the exchange of Easter eggs for charitable contributions. The Easter bunny can be traced to the goddess Eostra, whose fertility symbol was a rabbit. One legend maintains that she transformed a bird into a hare in order to save its life, but it retained the ability to lay eggs. Introduced in America by eighteenth-century German immigrants, the Easter bunny, named Oschter Haws, would reportedly lay red eggs, the color of Christ's shed blood, on Maundy Thursday. These red eggs were believed to preserve good health throughout the following year to those who ate them. This tradition later changed to multi-colored eggs being laid by rabbits on the eve of Easter.

Easter lillies, originally a Japanese flower, were first cultivated and imported to the U.S. from Bermuda in the 1880s, the bulbs of which are considered a symbol of Christ's burial and rebirth. One tradition teaches that lillies were the result of Eve's tears of true repentance. Mentioned by Jesus in his Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 6:28-29, Luke 12:27), Christian tradition holds that lillies grew in the garden of Gesthemane from the sweat of Christ's agony. Roman Catholic tradition also holds that lillies were found in the empty tomb of Mary after her supposed ascension.

Sunrise services are often held on Easter morning in memory of the empty tomb discovered by the disciples (Matthew 28:1-10, Mark 16:1-8, Luke 24:1-12, John 20:1-18), signifying Christ's resurrection from the dead. Some churches have the congregation face to the east to the rising sun, although it may be pointed out that this practice was associated with pagan worship in the Old Testament (Ezekiel 8:16).

Easter was not widely celebrated in the U.S. until after the Civil War.

The only place in the Bible where Easter is mentioned is Acts 12:4 in the King James Version only, which renders Pesach (Passover) as Easter.

Some early Christians observed Easter at the same time as the Jewish Passover, on the fourteenth day of the Jewish month of Nisan. The Roman Catholic Church referred to these observers as Quartodecimans, or "Fourteenth Day Christians."

Holy Week is the week preceding Easter consisting of Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday. After Easter comes Pentecost, or Whitsunday (White Sunday) which is generally observed on the seventh Sunday after Easter. Ascension Day, commemorating the ascension of Christ to heaven, is observed ten days before Pentecost, preceded three days prior by Rogation Sunday (prayer of petition or supplication), a celebration of the blessings of the spring harvest. The Sunday following Pentecost is Trinity Sunday. The Thursday or Sunday following Trinity Sunday (depending on where it is observed) is Corpus Christi (Body of Christ), a celebration of the Last Supper, or Eucharist.

For several hundred years prior to the advent of the Christian Easter observance, the Romans had been celebrating the death and resurrection of the virgin-born, pagan god Attis, who was believed to have been crucified on a pine tree and whose blood poured down to the earth for its redemption. The body of Attis was said to be eaten by his worshipers in the form of bread.

        Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?" "Yes, Lord," she told him, "I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who was to come into the world." (John 11:25-27)
        "But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 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. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men." (1 Corinthians 15:12-19)