Friday, March 21, 2008

The Origins of the Name "Easter".



Up front, before all is said, I value the most Holiest of Christian holidays, and believe in the Christian’s right to celebrate Easter. I honor their reasons for celebrating Easter. I’m a strong believer in tradition, as you may well know.

Now, I thought that I would give you some history on the origins of “Easter”. For millennia, before Christ was born, people celebrated the seasons, and followed the seasonal changes. The summer and winter solstice were celebrated, and also the fall and spring equinox were celebrated. The celebrations pre-date recorded history, so no one really knows how far back the seasons were honored as such.

The Catholic Church, joined the pagan and Christian holidays together, with the hopes of converting the pagan and non-believer into Christian. So, the pagans lost some of their most honored holidays to the Church, and the reason for the seasonal festival was muddied beyond recognition. I have even been told that as a non-believer, that I shouldn’t be celebrating Easter. With all due respect, it was our holiday before the “Newcomer Christians” showed up.

So, “Happy Eostre, or Eastre, if you prefer.

I copied the following from religioustolrance.org :

Origins of the name "Easter":
The name "Easter" originated with the names of an ancient Goddess and God. The Venerable Bede, (672-735 AD.) 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." 1 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 ancient Cyprus
Ashtoreth from ancient Israel
Astarté from ancient Greece
Demeter from Mycenae
Hathor from ancient Egypt
Ishtar from Assyria
Kali, from India
Ostara a Norse Goddess of fertility.
An alternative 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". 2
There are two popular beliefs about the origin of the English word "Sunday."
It is derived from the name of the Scandinavian sun Goddess Sunna (a.k.a. Sunne, Frau Sonne). 5,6
It is derived from "Sol," the Roman God of the Sun." Their phrase "Dies Solis" means "day of the Sun." The Christian saint Jerome (d. 420) commented "If it is called the day of the sun by the pagans, we willingly accept this name, for on this day the Light of the world arose, on this day the Sun of Justice shone forth."

P.S. Bunny's don't lay eggs, but then, that's another story!

HAPPY EASTER!

10 comments:

Ladyfriend said...

Oh Ernie, do I have a website that you will LOVE! Go to:

http://www.thepioneerwomancooks.com/

I promise you, you won't be sorry!!

Ernie Branscomb said...

Thanks Lady Friend, second to chocolate, my wife likes carrot cake, (if there is anything second to chocolate with her!) with at least a half-inch of cream cheese frosting.

Robin Shelley said...

Check out her photographs, too!

Ernie Branscomb said...

Okay,I did. What are you doing up? I'm hiding my Easter eggs.

Robin Shelley said...

I'm usually up with the chickens, Ernie... or, today, I guess it's the Easter bunny. Oh wait! That's you!
Saw Jim the Mountain Man today. Shared a meal & had a nice visit. No Fred's horseradish, though. Hmmm. Guess I'll have to pick some up when I'm through there in May.
Hope you looked at the photos of things other than food on the Pioneer Woman blog.
Anyway.... Happy Easter & goodnight.

Carol said...

Chortle, Ernie.

Hello to Janice, too.

Thank Jahdess It's Easter!

Ernie Branscomb said...

Robin, I have been reading the pioneer woman blog. She cooks like I do, she starts with butter and everything good, then she throws in food as a afterthought. That butter-fried meat & onion sandwich with Worcestershire sauce sounds delicious!

Yeah, I looked at the ranch pictures also. Do you know her????

Bart said...

Hi uncle Ernie! Lovin' your blog so far. Hi to auntie for me too.
Bart

Ernie Branscomb said...

Hey Bart! Welcome to my blog world. I used to think that none of my family knew how to blog, but lately I think that maybe they just don't want to say anything. Jim has been writing a little bit. I kinda' got him in trouble with talking about Ann Coulter. He's still off licking his wounds somewhere.

My liberal friends have no sense of humor, you might as well swear as say anything nice about "You know who".

It’s funny, the conservatives are so sure that they are right that nothing upsets them, even if you try. But, the liberals find the need to protect their positions. Myself, I see some sense, and some mistakes on both sides. I’m not really a wishy-washy, I just look for an honest man. (Crap, now I have to say “Or Woman” for my feminist friends.) It’s difficult for an anachronism to live in a modern word!

I see you even signed up for a blogger I.D. That's great! If you ever make a mistake, you just click on the garbage-can symbol, and it goes away.

Carson Park Ranger said...

Easter has a confusing etymology but the "Teutonic dawn goddess of fertility" sounds sexy.

You probably don't want to make her mad though.