- "... used to celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus on the same date; and pagans and Christians used to quarrel bitterly about which of their gods was the true prototype and which the imitation."
But church leaders clearly knew which worship was older. We now know that the oldest death and resurrection legend was first associated with Ausar of Kemet. Ausar was part of a trinity that consisted of him, the father, Auset, the mother, and their son, Heru (who was the second person in this trinity). As time elapsed, in the Hellenistic world, Ausar was dropped or deemphasized, and the sacred family was reduced to Auset and Heru, or Isis and Horus, their respective Greek names. In the Roman world, these two were worshiped throughout the empire, identified as the (Black) Madonna and child. Church leaders were able to successfully merge/graft their story of Jesus onto the story of Heru, eventually negating or replacing the latter altogether. Ancient Christians developed two alternative explanation for the similarities between their savior and other savior gods of the ancient world: first, they claimed that Satan had created counterfeit deities in advance of the coming of Christ in order to confuse humanity, and second, they regard Jesus' death and resurrection account as being true, historical, while others they argued were simply mythological.
However, Easter is one of those holidays the church grafted from earlier non-Christian traditions and it is obvious. For example, "What does an egg and bunny rabbits have to do with the resurrection of the Christ?" This question can only be answered by looking to the ancient world. In the ancient world one of the most celebrated times was the vernal equinox or the coming of spring. It marked the renewal of nature, a return of the sun's enervating energy. The ancient world ritualized this astronomical event, and “fertility” celebrations abounded throughout the various peoples. The various fertility goddesses, all expressions of the same force in nature, were Het-Heru (Hathor), Cybele, Ishtar, Astarte, and Aphrodite just to name a few. While it is true that Ishtar's celebration is the most direct forbear to today's Easter, its oldest worship is derived from Afrika, Kemet in particular. Some Eurocentrists have argued that the word Easter comes from the modern German Ostern, developed from the Old English word Ēastre or Ēostre, which originally referred to the name of an Anglo-Saxon goddess, Ēostre; however, the evidence for this Anglo-Saxon goddess is only traceable to Greco-Roman influences, and still are derived from Ishtar, so this is a moot point.
Although the worship of Ishtar began as an Afrikan system derived from Kemet, her worship deteriorated as a result of the invasions by non-Afrikan people. We know this because of the change in worldview demonstrated through the laws of the ancient "Fertile Crescent." I have argued that the attitude towards nature and the treatment of women are a direct reflection of a people's worldview. In the ancient world, out of the Kemeyu, the Hebrews, the Greeks, and the Roman, only the former demonstrated a love and respect for nature and women. Consequently, in Kemet (Afrika) women were considered a divine reflection of “Mother Nature.” In these other cultures, where northern cradle people had conquered, women were viewed ambivalent at best, but were generally considered evil and inferior to men. Unfortunately, Ishtar was worshiped in a part of the world that came under the influence of these people and their distorted worldview. It can be documented that the legal status of women was degraded in the Sumer, where women and men had reciprocal relationships, to Babylon, where their rights (women) were are circumscribed, to the Hebrews, were they were removed from the image of the divine altogether, as the Hebrews were the first people in the ancient world to eliminate the divine feminine--they had no female deities. The Arabs under Islam have continued along this misogynistic tradition.
Ancient Sumer had been a place once ruled by Afrikan people but with the coming of the Babylonians their world would be upended, turning that area into a zone of confluence, with the accompanying degradation and oppression of women. This meant that the powerful goddesses that were worshiped in the area had to be degraded as well, so that by the time of the Hebrews encountered Ishtar, she and her temples had become defiled: She was now a goddess of prostitution, and prostitution was a regularly occurring practice in her temples. Her annual festival often ended in an orgiastic festival. Since Kemet was able to delay her complete overthrow by non-Afrikan invaders for several centuries, she was able to keep the worship of Auset, and Het-Heru (Hathor) pristine.
When we examine Ishtar's mythology and symbolism during the late period, it is replete with all the symbols of contemporary Easter celebrations. Though there are variations of the myth, this is it in a nutshell. Ishtar is a goddess of war, sex, and love. She marries a shepherd boy, who becomes deified after their sacred marriage. His name was Tammuz, and he was noted for being especially fond of rabbits, and they became sacred to Ishtar's worship. According to the myth, Tammuz was killed by a wild pig. After his death, Ishtar put ashes on her head and mourned for 40 days, giving up all pleasures and food. During this time, no meat was to be eaten and worshipers were to meditate upon the sacred mysteries of Tammuz, and to make the sign of the "T" in front of their hearts as they worshiped. They also ate sacred cakes with the marking of a "T" or cross on the top. After the death of Tammuz, Ishtar becomes impregnated by his seed or essence. She declares that it is a miraculous conception and in celebration of this miraculous pregnancy, this divine fertility, she had an egg of gold made, calling it the golden egg of Ishtar or Ishtar's egg. This ritual celebration occurred every year, on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the spring equinox. It was known as Ishtar's Sunday and was celebrated with rabbits and eggs, two symbols associated with fertility; rabbits servings as symbol of procreation, being some of the most fecundative mammals; and eggs being symbols of life in themselves.
This is the origin of the symbols used in the celebration of Easter. They did not infiltrate Christianity, but were consciously grafted onto Christianity by early church leaders as a way to strengthen the religion. And it worked as now very few Christians know anything about Ishtar and associate all her symbols with Christianity. But the truth is that the forty days of Lent, eggs, rabbits, hot cross buns, and even the name Easter are all derived from the worship of Ishtar.