Where did we get the word Easter? Almost every other Germanic language derives its word for the celebration of Christ’s resurrection from the Latin word for passover, pascha, such as Paques (French), Pasqua (Italian), Pascuas (Spanish), and Pascoa (Portuguese). Only German gives Easter a name similar to the English one: Ostern. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, our word for Easter is derived from the same base as the word east, as is also true in German. The reference here is to the part of the sky that the sun rises in. It is not hard to see the connection between this image of dawn and Christ’s resurrection. We can take this even further and note that the “sun rising” and the “son rising” are homophones, and this may have also contributed to the association of Easter with the dawn. This is even more plausible when you consider that the words for son and sun are not homophones in the languages that base their word for Easter off of pascha, but they are in English and German (sohn and sonne).
Monthly Archives: March 2013