Where did the English Word Easter Come From?

The English word Easter is from the Anglo-Saxon word
Eastre, a pagan goddess whose festivals (called Eastron) were in the spring season. The festival represented the rising of the sun, new life and a new beginning. Also related are the words East, the directions of the rising sun and yeast, a substance which makes bread rise.

When Christianity came to northern Europe, the resurrection of the Lord fit into the tradition of new life and a rising and hence called Eastre of Easter by the people. The German word for Easter, "Osteren" is also similar in origin, Ost being East. In most other European languages the word for the Easter festival is taken from the name of the Jewish Passover - Pesach in Hebrew then Pascha in Greek and Latin, Pasqua in Italian, Pacques in French, Pascua in Spanish. From this the English Paschal derived, as in the Pascal Lamb.

Source: Dictionary of Word Origins

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