Origins of the term "Easter"

The term "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."  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:

Oestre (Ostara) was the Norse goddess of rebirth and fertility, and her symbol was the Oestre egg. The Christian religion slowly introduced the Jesus stuff during the celebration to make it more acceptable to the masses.

An alternate 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".

For more, see "Pagan Origins of Easter."


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