Since faith is one, it must be professed in all its purity and integrity". Pope Francis/Pope Benedict

Saturday, 7 April 2012

No Happy Easter Here!

Eosturmonath has a name which is now translated "Paschal month", and which was once called after a goddess of theirs named Eostre, in whose honour feasts were celebrated in that month. Now they designate that Paschal season by her name, calling the joys of the new rite by the time-honoured name of the old observance. Bede

Really? I have often wondered why we call the Feast of the Resurrection by the name of Easter. In most other languages this feast is referred to by some cognate of the Hebrew word for Passover, Pesach. Pascha in Latin, Pascua in Spanish, Pasqua in Italian, Pascoa in Portugese and so on. Even in other Germanic tongues some cognate of Pesach is used; Pasen in Dutch, Paske in Norwegian. Why then do we refer to it as Easter in English? Why this unnecessary glorification of a pagan goddess?

I recently suggested to a friend that the appropriate paschal greeting would be Christus ressurectus est. She replied "But I would be afraid to say that." Is that what this is all about? Happy Easter is a softer, far less blatant greeting that is less likely to offend or cause controversy. Well not around here! I plan on looking people straight in the eye and saying Christus ressurectus est and I would advise anyone reading this to do the same.


Young Canadian RC Male said...

I hope you are ready for the insults and onslaughts from people you will get. Then again ... if you wish it to them in Latin, why not make them say to themselves "What the heck does it mean" and tell them to look it up. Maybe they will discover Latin and even Catholicism too while they search the Internet.

Barona said...

Well, at least the "Easter Parade" fits in with "Easter".

The Sheepcat said...

FWIW, Jimmy Akin says that historians have not been able to corroborate the Venerable Bede's claim about a goddess by this name. So I'd say calling the holy day Easter is just fine.

Freyr said...

Apparently English is a bit of a language rebel. I seem to recall a lot of fuss over changes to the missal that were already common in other languages. I wonder if the neo-pagan "You stole our feasts!" bunch might know about this. Sorry guys, only the Jews can make a case for that regarding Passover.

Vox Cantoris said...


In German, Easter is Frohe Ostern. The former communist East Germany was called Ostdeutschland. Do you see "Ost?" It means "East" and since English is derived from German, Easter mean "to the East" from where Christ will come. It has absoultely nothing, nothing, nothing to do with a pagan goddess or earth worship or fertility rites.

While I would agree that the Latin languages and even Tagalog (pasko) is a better expression of the Pesach or Passover, Easter is NOT a pagan name.