Britons will spend £440 million on chocolate at Easter – 10 per cent of total annual sales. An average of 80 million Easter eggs will be sold at a total value of £520 million.
A recent YouGov poll revealed that a third of Britons do not know that Jesus was born in Bethlehem, nor that he was Jewish, although 85 per cent do know that Easter celebrates the Resurrection.
Other popular theories explaining the empty tomb: Jesus’s body is stolen by grieving Christians; Mary Magdalene and disciples return to the wrong tomb; Jesus, in cahoots with Joseph of Arimathea, fakes his death using a special drug; Jesus only “passes out” on the cross and wakes up later; and – a favourite argument of Colonel Gadaffi’s – Jesus swaps identities with Judas Iscariot at the last moment.
Using the methods of Michael Drosnin’s 1997 bestseller The Bible Code, Moby Dick has been a better predictor of assassination and disaster than the Bible. One extract encodes the sequence “Diana”’, “Dodi” “Henri Paul” and “jaws of death”.
Faith helps you live longer. A 1995 US study of death rates in the six months after bypass surgery showed a 12 per cent chance of death for non-churchgoers, five per cent for regular attendees and nought per cent for the “deeply religious”.
The favoured Norwegian festive pastime is reading crime novels. Paaskekrim or “Easter crime”, is inspired by the violence of Jesus’s death.
The Da Vinci Code (Audrey Tatou, right, starred alongside Tom Hanks in last year’s film) might not be hokum. The Jesus Family Tomb, a new film and book, uses DNA and statistical analysis to produce a 600-1 probability that the remains found in a Jerusalem tomb in 1980 are those of Jesus, Mary Magdalene and their son Jude.
Next week: dictionaries
The Complete First Series of QI is now available on DVD at www.qi.com/dvd.