Easter is upon us, but that’s got nothing to do with Ishtar, despite the “evidence”.
Some theories of why things came to be are very seductive. Your uncle shares a meme on Facebook explaining how Easter used to be a pagan celebration of the goddess Ishtar, and that’s why it’s all about rabbits laying eggs or what-have-you. Sounds reasonable enough, so you start telling people this story, and it spreads. Like…rabbits.
But it isn’t true. It’s like someone deciding that because your name is Sean and you were alive in the 21st century, you must be the same person as Shane Warne. Dodgy historians have done this a lot, sometimes turning two pharaohs who ruled centuries apart into the same person – just to fit their own personal theory or timeline.
This is why having multiple sources of evidence is so important in History. And why it’s even more important to keep an open mind. Sometimes your theories will be incorrect – but it’s better to be wrong and honest than try to make facts fit your story, no matter how cool it sounds.
And actually, there is a cool pre-Christian back story to Easter. There was a Germanic goddess named Ēostre, who gave her name to our weekend of chocolate because she was connected to a spring festival (in the Northern Hemisphere, obvs).
Some people believe she was the source of some of our Easter customs, and they’ve tried to connect her to imagery of hares and eggs, but we’ll need some more convincing than that adorable artwork thanks.
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