Apr 8, 2007

Easter, but not Holy Pascha.

From Wikipedia:

In most languages of Christian societies, other than English, German and some Slavic languages, the holiday's name is derived from Pesach, the Hebrew name of Passover, a Jewish holiday to which the Christian Easter is intimately linked. Easter depends on Passover not only for much of its symbolic meaning but also for its position in the calendar; the Last Supper shared by Jesus and his disciples before his crucifixion is generally thought of as a Passover meal, based on the chronology in the Gospels.[1] Some, however, interpreting "Passover" in John 18:28 as a single meal and not a seven-day festival,[2] interpret the Gospel of John as differing from the Synoptic Gospels by placing Christ's death at the time of the slaughter of the Passover lambs, which would put the Last Supper slightly before Passover, on 14 Nisan of the Bible's Hebrew calendar.[3] According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, "In fact, the Jewish feast was taken over into the Christian Easter celebration."

The English name, "Easter", and the German, "Ostern", derive from the name of Germanic Goddess of the Dawn (thus, of spring, as the dawn of the year) - called Ēaster, Ēastre, and Ēostre, in various dialects of Old English. In England, the annual festive time in her honor was in the "Month of Easter" or Ēosturmonath, equivalent to April/Aprilis[4]. The Venerable Bede, an 8th Century English Christian monk wrote in Latin:

"Eosturmonath, qui nunc paschalis mensis interpretatur, quondam a dea illorum quae Eostre vocabatur et cui in illo festa celebrabant nomen habuit."

Which means: "Eastermonth, which is now interpreted as the paschal month, was formerly named after the goddess Eostre, and has given its name to the festival."

In most Slavic languages, the name for Easter either means Great Day or Great Night. For example Wielkanoc and Velikonoce mean Great Night or Great Nights in Polish and Czech, respectively. Великден (Vělikděn') and Вялікдзень (Vjalikdzěn') mean 'The Great Day' in Bulgarian and Ukrainian respectively. In Serbian and Croatian, however, the day's name reflects a more particular theological connection: it is called "Uskrs," meaning 'Resurrection.'

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