Mar 312013

Facebook has been awash in clever posts and images claiming that Easter has its origins in the pagan fertility ceremonies celebrating the goddess Ishtar. I try to be clever in return, usually commenting along the lines that it is amazing how Christianity has the power to convert pagans like me & pagan holidays like Ishtar.

Sure, some of our pagan past remains but it has lost its power. Bunnies and eggs might be remnants of the old pagan ceremony but does anyone celebrate their pagan symbolism? Do these old forms retain any of their past significance?

That is why I was pleasantly surprised to read the ‘truth’ about Easter & Ishtar in The Daily Beast this morning:

I immediately knew that this was a bit of nonsense for the simple reason that Easter is an English word.  The Greeks and Romans called it Pascha, which is why Easter is Pasqua in Italian, Pascua in Spanish, and Paques in French.  How exactly did the name of a Canaanite fertility goddess skip all the way to England from the Middle East without stopping in Rome or Byzantium?

The article concludes with this sage advice to all of us:

The general rule of infographics and similar fare is that the more deliciously it skewers people you don’t respect very much, the more likely it is to be a fake.  Always good to consider before you click that “share” button.

Source: Happy Easter, Which is Not Named After Ishtar, Okay?
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