Origins of the term "Easter"
The term "Easter
" originated with the names of an ancient goddess and god. The Venerable Bede,
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:
- Aphrodite from Cyprus
- Astarte from Phoenicia
- Demeter from Mycenae
- Hathor from Egypt
- Ishtar from Assyria
- Kali from India
- Ostara, a Norse goddess of fertility
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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