Easter. The time of year when all the young ladies mourn the death of the God Tammuz.
No? Haven’t heard that one?
Let us explain.
You may be familiar with the traditional Christian observance of Lent and Easter. Lent is the 40-day period from Ash Wednesday until Easter observed by Christians as a season of fasting and penitence in preparation for Easter. The traditional purpose of Lent is the preparation of the believer through prayer, penance, repentance and self-denial, and leads up the Holy Week – the annual commemoration of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ on Easter Sunday.
Turn back the clocks to 2700 BCE. Enter Babylonian and Sumerian god Tammuz (also Thammuz or Dumuzid). Tammuz originated as a Sumerian shepherd-god and what scholars label a vegetation God and Solar deity.
"Legend has it that Tammuz was killed by a wild boar when he was forty years old. Hislop points out that forty days – a day for each year Tammuz had lived on earth – were set aside to “weep for Tammuz.” In ancient times these forty days were observed with weeping, fasting, and self chastisement – to gain anew his favor – so he would come forth from the underworld and cause spring to begin. This observance was known not only at Babylon, but also among the Phoenicians, Egyptians, Mexicans, and, for a time, even among the Israelites.
There are some striking similarities between the life and death of our Tammuz to that of the famed Jesus Christ and Christian Easter traditions:
- Tammuz was said to be born of the virgin Myrrha on December 25. Some say he was born in the very cave in Bethlehem now considered the birthplace of Jesus.
- Tammuz was fabled to have been resurrected by his wife, Ishtar. The Resurrection of Ishtar and Tammuz , also known as Easter (Ishtar), became an annual celebration.
- The ancient Babylonians celebrated Ishtar (the resurrection of Tammuz) by coloring eggs.
- During Ishtar events, rabbits were used to symbolize fertility and the God Tammuz.
Many Christians, Muslims, and Jews reject any connection with gods like Tammuz that preceded their own. They call those gods “pagan” in a derogatory sense of the word, particularly when the pagan gods like Tammuz are compared with their own. However, Tammuz is actually one of the few non-Judeo-Christian Gods mentioned in the Bible. Ezekiel 8:14 makes reference to the myth:
Then he brought me to the entrance to the north gate of the house of the LORD, and I saw women sitting there, mourning for Tammuz.
According to ancient Babylonian myths and history – and even the Bible itself – the birth, death and resurrection stories of Tammuz (and Ishtar) are ancient Babylonian holidays that have never left us. They’ve merely been hijacked by the Roman Empire and “repackaged” as Christian holidays, remaining stark evidence of the depth and piety the ancient people once held for their ancient Gods.
Babylon Mystery Religion, by Ralph Edward Woodrow, Copyright 1966, 1992 printing, page 139
"The Legend of Tammuz."http://www.geocities.ws/nephilimnot/tammuz.html. Geocities. Web. 24 Jun 2013.