What Is Easter?


What does easter mean? The definition of easter and easter day, information on the origin of the name.

easter-1Easter; the principal Christian feast day, celebrates the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Most Christian churches in the West observe Easter on the first Sunday after the full moon that comes on or af ter the vernal equinox (March 21). Thus, Easter falls within a 35-day period between March 22 and April 25, inclusive. The date of Easter in same Eastern churches may vary from the Western date.

Origin of the Name: The origin of the English word “Easter” is uncertain. In the 8th century, the Venerable Bede proposed that it was derived from the name of an Anglo-Saxon goddess of spring, Eostre. This view has long been popular, but another explanation has been offered. In the early church, Easter week was called hebdomada alba (“white week”), because of the white garments worn by those baptized at Easter. The plural of white was later misunderstood as the plural of dawn and so translated into Old High German as eostarum, from which the English word “Easter” was derived.

In the Romance and some other languages, the word -for Easter is derived from the Hebrew Pesach (Passover ) through its Greek transliteration Pascha. Recent Biblical and liturgical usage has employed the noun “Pasch” and the adjective “Paschal” in speaking of the Christian celebration.

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