Sunday, April 8, 2012


Easter \EE-ster\ , noun;
1. An annual Christian festival in commemoration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, observed on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the vernal equinox, as calculated according to tables based in Western churches on the Gregorian calendar and in Orthodox churches on the Julian calendar.
Painted Easter eggs in Romania (Photograph: Bogdan Cristel/Reuters)
Easter comes from Old English Easterdæg, based on Eastre from Proto-Germanic *Austron. Austron is a pagan goddess representing fertility and spring whose feast was celebrated at the spring equinox. Her name ultimately derives from Proto-Indo-European *aus-, which means "to shine, especially at dawn." *Aus- also spawned east.

English and German are the only Indo-European languages who use this word for Easter (German Ostern). Everyone else, even other Germanic languages, use a word based on the biblical name for the holiday: pascha. Pascha is a Latin word meaning both "Passover" and "Easter" which was borrowed from Greek pascha, which comes from Aramaic pasha ("pass over"). English also has a word paschal that means "of or pertaining to Easter," but it is not attested until the early 15th century.

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