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The Two Babylons (1858)

Alexander Hislop
Ask yourself: What do bunny rabbits and eggs have to do with the story of the resurrection?

Answer: Same thing an evergreen tree has to do with a Jewish birth in Bethlehem.

Ask yourself what bunny rabbits are known for. Do eggs have any reference to fertility?

Uh-huh.

Hislop's book has been circulating for a century and a half and, while it is preoccupied with Catholicism (and delicately skirts the sexual origin of many popular customs), it does contain a lot of information about the origins of these bizarre customs that are still practiced today ... customs you may know under the names Easter and Christmas.

At any rate, here's some of what Hislop has to say about Easter. Happy Sex Holiday! Oops! I mean, Happy Easter!


What means the term Easter itself? It is not a Christian name. It bears its Chaldean origin on its forehead. Easter is nothing else than Astarte, one of the titles of Beltis, the queen of heaven, whose name, as pronounced by the people of Nineveh, was evidently identical with that now in common use in this country. That name, as found by Layard on the Assyrian monuments, is Ishtar. The worship of Bel and Astarte was very early introduced into Britain, along with the Druids, 'the priests of the groves.
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To conciliate the Pagans to nominal Christianity, Rome, pursuing its usual policy, took measures to get the Christian and Pagan festivals amalgamated, and, by a complicated but skilful adjustment of the calendar, it was found no difficult matter, in general to get Paganism and Christianity, now far sunk in idolatry - in this as in so many other things, to shake hands.

The hot cross buns of Good Friday and the dyed eggs of Easter Sunday, figured in the Chaldean rites just as they do now. The 'buns' known too by the identical name, were used in the worship of the queen of heaven, the goddess Easter, as early as the days of Cecrops, the founder of Athens- that is, 1500 years before the Christian era... The prophet Jeremiah takes notice of this kind of offering when he says: 'The children gather wood, the fathers kindle the fire, and the women make cakes to the queen of heaven" - Astarte! (Jer.7:18)

In ancient times eggs were used in the religious rites of the Egyptians and the Greeks, and were hung up for mystic purposes in their temples. From Egypt these sacred eggs can be distinctly traced to the banks of the Euphrates. The classic poets are full of the fable of the mystic egg of the Babylonians; and thus it is told by Hyginus, the Egyptian, the learned keeper of the Palatine library at Rome, in the time of Augustus, who was skilled in all the wisdom of his native country: 'An egg of wondrous size is said to have fallen from heaven into the river Euphrates. The fishes rolled it to the bank, where the doves having settled upon it, and hatched it, out came Venus, who afterwards was called the Syrian Goddess'" - that is Astarte. Hence the egg became one of the symbols of Astarte or Easter.

See also Bowling for Bunnies