WHAT IS THE ORIGIN AND MEANING OF EASTER?
We are now in the joyous Easter Season commemorating the Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ through which He, triumphed over sin and death, opened the gates of Heaven, and gained us a new life – a life of grace- through which we have become children of God in Him and which transforms the entire reality, aside from showing us that He is God, victorious over death, evil, and the devil.
But what is the origin and the meaning of Easter?
Origin of Easter
According to the Venerable St. Bede (De temporum ratione, I, v), the English term, Easter is related to Estre, a Teutonic goddess of the rising light of day and spring, which deity, however, is otherwise unknown.
- It comes from the Anglo-Saxon, eâster, eâstron, which in the Old High German, is called: ôstra, ôstrara, ôstrarûn; and in German: Ostern.
- The month of April was called easter-monadh. The plural eâstron is used, because the feast lasts seven days.
Like the French plural Pâques, it is a translation from the Latin Festa Paschalia, which refers to the entire octave of Easter or the eight days after Easter Sunday inclusive.
- The Greek term for Easter, pascha, has nothing in common with the verb paschein, “to suffer,” although later symbolic writers affirm that it was connected with it;
Meaning of Easter
Pascha is the Aramaic form of the Hebrew pesach (transitus, or passover), which refers to the liberation of Jews from the slavery of Egypt and their transit to the Promised Land, headed by Moses.
Christian Pasch or Christian Easter, however, celebrates the liberation from the slavery of sin and the transit from death brought about by sin and evil towards the new life brought about by the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Our Lord.
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