Easter Or Ishtar?

Q. How does one explain to loved ones that the real Resurrection Sunday falls on the Sunday after Passover, and not on some other day? I tried to tell them that they are celebrating a Babylonian goddess (Ishtar), based on the lunar cycle, but they maintain, that it doesn’t matter what day they observe, as long as they observe it. Why is the church behaving like a bunch of lemmings?

A. As Christianity took hold in the Roman Empire there was a disagreement about when to celebrate the Lord’s Resurrection. The Eastern leg (now Greek Orthodox) wanted it tied to Passover because they had so many converts from Judaism, but the western leg (now Catholic) argued in favor of linking it to the spring Equinox, already a big pagan celebration in their time. They used the same argument you cited, “Why does the date matter, as long as we do it?”

If it was just the date, it probably wouldn’t be such a big deal, but all the pagan fertility rites associated with the goddess Ishtar became a part of it too, eventually over shadowing the real purpose of the celebration of what is arguably the most important day in Christianity.

The two legs of the Roman Empire agreed to disagree and still celebrate the Lord’s resurrection on different dates.

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