What is Easter?
Easter is the time for holidays, festivals and a time for giving chocolate Easter eggs. But Easter means much more....
Easter is the oldest and the most important Christian Festival, the celebration of the death and coming to life again of Jesus Christ. For Christians, the dawn of Easter Sunday with its message of new life is the high point of the Christian year.
Where does the name 'Easter' come from?
Pagan traditions give us the English word "Easter" which comes from the word "Eostre". The Anglo-Saxon word for April was "Eostre-monath"
(the month of openings). However, it should be remembered that
Christians celebrated the resurrection of Christ long before the word
"Easter" was used, and the word they used for the celebration was "Pascha", which is derived from and linked to the Jewish festival of Passover.
According to Bede, the English monastic historian, the English word Easter comes from the Anglo-Saxon name for the month of April, which was known as "Eostremonath" in the AngloSaxon tongue and since Pascha was most often celebrated in Eostremonath,
the English Christians began calling it "Easter". Bede also notes that
the month was named after the Anglo-Saxon goddess Esostre.
Rituals related to the goddess Eostre focus on new
beginnings, symbolized by the Easter egg, and fertility, which is
symbolized by the hare (or Easter bunny).