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Origins of the name "Easter":

The name "Easter" originated with the names of an ancient Goddess and God. The Venerable Bede, (672-735 CE.) a Christian scholar, first asserted in his book De Ratione Temporum that Easter was named after Eostre (a.k.a. Eastre). She was the Great Mother Goddess of the Saxon people in Northern Europe. Similarly, the "Teutonic dawn goddess of fertility [was] known variously as Ostare, Ostara, Ostern, Eostra, Eostre, Eostur, Eastra, Eastur, Austron and Ausos." 1 Her name was derived from the ancient word for spring: "eastre." Similar Goddesses were known by other names in ancient cultures around the Mediterranean, and were celebrated in the springtime. Some were: bullet Aphrodite from ancient Cyprus bullet Ashtoreth from ancient Israel bullet Astarte from ancient Greece bullet Demeter from Mycenae bullet Hathor from ancient Egypt bullet Ishtar from Assyria bullet Kali, from India bullet Ostara a Norse Goddess of fertility.

An alternative explanation has been suggested. The name given by the Frankish church to Jesus' resurrection festival included the Latin word "alba" which means "white." (This was a reference to the white robes that were worn during the festival.) "Alba" also has a second meaning: "sunrise." When the name of the festival was translated into German, the "sunrise" meaning was selected in error. This became "ostern" in German. Ostern has been proposed as the origin of the word "Easter". 2 There are two popular beliefs about the origin of the English word "Sunday." bullet It is derived from the name of the Scandinavian sun Goddess Sunna (a.k.a. Sunne, Frau Sonne). 5,6 bullet It is derived from "Sol," the Roman God of the Sun." Their phrase "Dies Solis" means "day of the Sun." The Christian saint Jerome (d. 420) commented "If it is called the day of the sun by the pagans, we willingly accept this name, for on this day the Light of the world arose, on this day the Sun of Justice shone forth." 7

  • Posted Apr 22, 2011
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4 Vote

So really, as Ray's research points out, what is pagan is the name Easter, not the holiday itself. How the English and the Germans made this mistake isn't known. Most other languages use some form of the Greek or Latin word for "Passover".

In Spanish, the word for Easter is la Pascua, the same as the word for the Jewish Passover.

The reason for that is simple: It was during the Jewish Passover that Christ's death, burial, and resurrection occurred.

The famous "Last Supper", which occurred prior to the crucifixion was, in fact, the Jewish Passover meal. ( reference- Mark Chapter 14)

If it was truly a pagan holiday, they could fix the date at the spring equinox and call it a day. But instead it follows the Jewish Passover, and for good reason.

Christians believe that the date of the crucifixion was no coincidence. For at the very time the Jewish passover lamb was being sacrificed in Jerusalem to pay for the sins of the Jewish people, Jesus was hanging on a cross outside the gates of that city, to pay for the sins of the world.

Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover, has been sacrificed. - 1 Corinthians 5:7

  • The Germans and the English did not make a mistake because the holiday predates Christianity, they just failed to rename it. - ray76 Apr 24, 2011 flag
  • I disagree. There may have been a spring holiday that coincided with the Equinox, and it may have even been called Easter for all I know. But that had nothing to do with the floating Christian holiday that coincides with Passover. - Goyo Apr 24, 2011 flag
1 Vote

Great research Ray!

1 Vote

Thanks for the info, Ray smile.

  • Good for the game of scrabble tonight , or Monopoly. - ray76 Apr 23, 2011 flag
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