It's baffling that in this day and age our church pulpits and pews are filled with smart, but ignorant people. This isn't meant as a derogatory slur -- I, too, have been in one of those pews. We're sheep that are content to be led and have become "repeaters" who don't "study to show ourselves approved unto God." We invest in traditions without a thought as to how or why we got them.
The Easter ham story is a good example. Preparing to cut the ham before it went in the oven, the daughter asked her mom, "Why do we cut the ham in half?" Expecting an insightful, spiritual explanation, her mom said, "I don't know, we've always done it. Let's ask your grandmother." They found grandmother in the den and asked, "Why do we cut the ham in half?" Grandmother replied, "I don't know why you do, but I always had to cut it in half for it to fit in my oven."
The Easter holiday celebrates our Lord's resurrection -- which often becomes lost amidst Easter Egg Hunts, the Easter Bunny, and new clothes for the Easter Sunrise Service. Sometimes Easter even comes before Passover on our calendars. How can one celebrate the resurrection before the crucifixion? When I asked questions and got "traditions" for answers, I decided to study for myself.
"Easter" has a pre-Christian origin of Eostre, a dawn goddess of fertility and spring. A spring festival was held to worship her. Constantine's Council of Nicaea in the year 325, decided (against God's Word and His calendar) that Easter would be kept on Sun-day, and on the same Sun-day throughout the world.
Constantine's people were divided in that there were those who worshipped the pagan sun gods on "Sun-day" while worshippers of the Jew's God observed Sabbath. So he made pagan worship more palatable for the Christians by "Christianizing" the pagan practices.
Easter eggs are an example. Temple priestesses worshipping Eostre/Easter would inevitably get pregnant then sacrifice their babies and dye eggs in their blood. This practice was abominable to God-fearers so it was "Christianized". The eggs still symbolized new life but now "new life in Christ" and dye used instead of infants' blood.
When we dye eggs, are we reminding God of pagan worship? When we say "Happy Easter" in celebration of our Lord's resurrection, we are literally saying, "Happy fertility goddess!"
God is a jealous God, He has said to not mix worship of Him with pagan practices, and to abstain from every form of evil. Are we worshiping God in vain by letting go of His commands in order to observe our own traditions? No matter how well we "Christianize" our traditions, if our worship of God is mixed with pagan practices no amount of Christian-scented febreeze will cover the stench -- it will stink to High Heaven!
Tradition plus time does not always equal truth -- no matter what our feelings or experiences tell us. All things must be tested against God's Word to be validated. God's Word should change us -- not the other way around. Study for yourself and have a "Happy Resurrection Day!"