Easter - pagan holiday?


#1

I’m being told that Easter is actually an attempt by the Church to “christianize” a pagan holiday. And that Easter is the name of a pagan Godess. Just by saying the name “Easter,” we go against the Word of God and will be condemned.

Any ideas on how to respond to this?
Thanks in advance.


#2

If the term Easter bothers you, use the term Pascal holiday.

[quote=Rhonda in GA]I’m being told that Easter is actually an attempt by the Church to “christianize” a pagan holiday. And that Easter is the name of a pagan Godess. Just by saying the name “Easter,” we go against the Word of God and will be condemned.

Any ideas on how to respond to this?
Thanks in advance.
[/quote]


#3

[quote=Rhonda in GA]I’m being told that Easter is actually an attempt by the Church to “christianize” a pagan holiday. And that Easter is the name of a pagan Godess. Just by saying the name “Easter,” we go against the Word of God and will be condemned.

Any ideas on how to respond to this?
Thanks in advance.
[/quote]

Laugh?


#4

yeah I’ve heard that same old tired line too

while most other holidays clearly have pagan roots
Candlemass, Christmas, All Saints etc
Easter is one of the few holidays that was bona fide Christian from the start

most of the pagan holidays (at least in Europe where most of the early Christian “borrowings” occured) were tied into the quarter and cross quarter days

but Easter with its odd mix of being tied to a lunar callander, an equinox, and a day of the week does fit the pattern

it is too late for Imbolic and too early for Beltane

the confusion may come becasue the English word Easter
is related to early words used for spring time holidays and/or godess maybe

e.g. Eostre and Ostara

a lot of that is just neo pagan rantings

also some of the symbols such as flowers and eggs are similar but hey remember both the USA and the USSR used the five pointed star as an emblem so similar symbols can be just a coinsidence


#5

Well, I hate to laugh at this lady but she’s SERIOUS! I believe that she is Messianic Jew and has fallen into a very legalistic way of private interpretation.

In her online writings, she won’t even type the word Easter, for fear of offending God. She types it East*r, or some other ridiculous way!

So yes, in a sense, it is the English word that bothers her, but also the fact that it’s the name of a pagan godess.

Thanks for your replies.


#6

People who use this argument have not studied language, even their own.

Does she say the days of the week in English? If so, by her logic, she is worshipping Norse gods. I don’t remember them all, but Tuesday came from the word “Thor’s Day”, and Thor was the Norse god of thunder.

What about the planets or certain elements? Mercury, a planet and a metal, Venus, the Roman goddess of love (or was she hunting?), Diana, a common girl’s name, Athena, another name I’ve seen used as a girl’s name in the modern world. Does saying all these names or deritives of these names condemn us to hell? If so, then she needs to stop speaking or writing altogether for fear she offend God through the derivitive of some pagan practice.


#7

Easter is a totally Christian holiday. The main link to paganism is that Constantine used astronomers to decide what date Easter should be - there was a debate over whether it should be celebrated at the same time as Passover. The result was that Easter is celebrated on the first Sunday after the Spring Equinox (I think).


#8

The Queen of feasts, the celebration of our Lord’s Resurrection, which most English speaking Christians know as Easter, is the centre of a surprising amount of controversy. Looks like you friend has been caught up in it…

Not only the date, but even the very name, has also been a source of controversy and disagreement. In Hebrew, the Passover is called Pesach. In most languages, the Christian Resurrection feast is called by a name based on this Hebrew word. Most Orthodox call it Pascha or a similar sounding name. The Irish form Cáisc is a cognate of Pascha. Only in English is it called Easter. According to some, this name is derived from that of an ancient pagan goddess of spring. This is not correct at all.

The article below is from Caedmon Parsons, an Orthodox Christian and scholar of the Middle Ages. In it he clarifies the true history of the word Easter.

There is absolutely no evidence for a Germanic goddess with a name in any way resembling the word “Easter”. Rather than the term being derived from a goddess, the supposed goddess is herself derived from the term. She was postulated by certain 19th century Germanic scholars in an attempt to explain the
etymology of the word. These same scholars (foremost among them the Grimm brothers, famous for their folk-tale collections and less well-known as the discoverers of the “Indo-European” linguistic family) had a very definite nationalist/ethnic agenda in which they were trying to rediscover the “real” roots of German culture. Thus the folk-tale collection’s avowed purpose was
to search for “survivals” of pre-Christian Germanic religion and culture.

The later connection of this invented figure to Astarte was sheer
fundamentalist propaganda based on a coincidental similarity in sound. Having dismissed Nativity/Christmas because it’s timing coincides with a number of pagan solar festivals, those fundamentalist groups which criticise all celebration of “holy days” thereby sought to discredit “Easter” whose general timing is well laid out in the Bible. If there was a connection with Astarte, it would be the only case of a Sumerian/Canaanite word coming into the Germanic languages without first passing through Hebrew and/or Greek into Latin and then into Germanic via the medium of Christianity.

There is some by no means conclusive evidence of a festival or holy day connected to the spring solstice. However, every recorded instance of the word’s usage has clear Christian connotations (i.e., if it ever was a pagan festival, it had effectively disappeared by the time people wrote using the term “Easter”). As to why this word is used in English and German: It is used in German for the simple reason that the pagans of modern-day Germany were missionised by Anglo-Saxon Christians such as St. Willibrord or the two St. Hewalds. The Germans thus got “Easter” the same way the Russians got “Pascha”.

Although the Grimm Brothers probably did conflate the issue, the goddess Eostre may be a valid concept. However, the only mention of a goddess Eostre is recorded in Bede’s 8th century 'De tempore Ratione"('On the Reckoning of Time) -
the book which helped popularise BC/AD dating. Since there is no other corroborating evidence Bede may be mistaken.

cont…


#9

…continued

However the term for Pascha was not named from this doubtful Goddess. Instead it is most likely that Easter (Pascha) comes from the Saxon month of Eostre (April) which was used for the spring period.

In other words, the term ‘Easter’ no more honours Eostre than a ‘Wednesday Night Service’ at your local Protestant church honours Odin (Wednesday=Woden’s Day).

In England itself, this is the type of theoretical issue Anglo-Saxonists enjoy arguing. There appears to have been a very strong cultural bias among the Anglo-Saxons against other languages. While their Latin missionaries and then their own churchmen obviously knew and used Latin, there was remarkably
little borrowing from Latin into English at this time. In almost every instance, the English Church took existing English words to express ecclesiastical terms (thus “sanctus” was translated by “haelig” [holy, healthy, whole] and Old English uses haelige John not St. John, “haeliged” [hallowed] rather than sanctified, etc) rather than simply borrowing the Latin. The modern
preponderance of Latin loan words for ecclesiastical terms is a product of the post 1066 Norman invasion. In addition to Latin books, Old English had the most active vernacular literature (primarily Christian) of any Western area prior to the millennium. There is an extant translation of the gospel of John which is the oldest translation of the Bible into a western vernacular with
the exception of Bishop Wulfilas Arian translations into Gothic (itself another Germanic language).

IOW, the presence of the word “Easter” is actually a product of the vibrant “Orthodoxy” of the Anglo-Saxon Church which unlike later periods did not suppress the resident culture in favour of an all-embracing Latinism but rather transformed (in accord with the guidelines given to St. Augustine of Canterbury by Pope Saint Gregory the Great) the entire language and culture.

Although I myself generally use “Pascha” because it is the common usage among Orthodox now, I find attempts to dismiss as “pagan” a true survival of English Orthodoxy very problematic.

Furthermore, there does not seem to be any English form of the word “Pascha”; Orthodox England never called the feast anything but Easter.

Word-list (from J.R. Clarke-Hall’s A Concise Anglo-Saxon Dictionary)

east I. adj. east, easterly. II. adv. eastwards, in an easterly
direction,
in or from the east
eastan from the east, easterly
eastanwind east wind
eastcyning eastern king
eastdael eastern quarter, the East
easte the East
eastende east-end, east quarter
Eastengle the East Anglians: East Anglia
Easteraefen Easter-eve
Easterdaeg Easter-day, Easter Sunday
Easterfaestan Easter-fast, Lent
Easterfeorm feast of Easter
Easterfreolsdaeg the feast day of Passover
Eastergewuna Easter custom (appears only in the 9th century sermons of
Aelfric where he is reffering to Christian Easter practices)
Easterlic belonging to Easter, Paschal
Eastermonath Easter-month, April
Easterne east, eastern, oriental
Easterniht Easter-night
Eastersunnandaeg Easter Sunday
Eastersymble Passover (lit. Easter gathering)
Eastertid Eastertide, Paschal season
Easterthenung Passover
Easterwucu Easter Week
and then we return to compounds of “east-” [eastern x] except for the
nominative
Eastre Easter, Passover, (possibly) Spring.

And while I find the etymological connection of Easter and
astiehen (to rise up) doubtful, the pun of Eastre, astah (risen)
is very obvious in Anglo-Saxon.


#10

[quote=JCPhoenix]… I don’t remember them all, but Tuesday came from the word “Thor’s Day”, and Thor was the Norse god of thunder. …
[/quote]

actually that’s Thursday (Thor’s day)

Tuesday was named after the god Tyr (“Tew” in Old English)

sorry for the interruption
carry on


#11

Norse origins of English days:
(note that spellings will change, depending on whether you are using the more commonly seen Norse names, or the Saxon names, which are more directly tied to the English)

Sunna is the goddess of the sun. In Spanish it is Domingo, from the Latin for Day of the Lord. In French, Dimanche has the same root.

Mona is the god of the moon. Likewise, Spanish has Lunes and in French it is Lundi.

Tyr was the god of war. Note that in romance languages, the day is named for the Roman god of war, Mars (Marti, Mardi, etc)

Woden/Odin was the chief Norse god. Romans named it after Mercury, their messenger god (Miercoles, Mercredi…)

Thor was the god of thunder. Romans named the day after their chief god, Jupiter a.k.a. Jove, who at least in his Greek form (Zeus) used to throw thunderbolts down from Mount Olympus. (Jueves, Jeudi…)

Freya was the goddess of love and fertility. Romans named the day after Venus, their goddess of love. (Viernes, Vendredi)

Saturday does not originate in northern Europe, but is named for Saturn, the Roman god of farming, and Jupiter’s dad. In Spanish, it’s called Sabado, a cognate of the Hebrew Sabbath. A Latin form of this is also the source of Samedi in French and Samstag in German.

And to think that I learned a lot of the Norse stuff watching the cartoon version of the superhero Thor. Why didn’t anyone protect my impressionable eyes from this pagan indoctrination?:wink:

[quote=Fr Ambrose]The Irish form Cáisc is a cognate of Pascha.
[/quote]

How’s that again?


#12

Days of the weekif I recall correctly:

Moon day (Lundi in French)
Tiu’s day
Woden’s day
Thor’s day
Fria’s day
Saturn’s day, and of course,
Sun day

ancient gods and goddesses all


#13

[quote=Rhonda in GA]I’m being told that Easter is actually an attempt by the Church to “christianize” a pagan holiday. And that Easter is the name of a pagan Godess. Just by saying the name “Easter,” we go against the Word of God and will be condemned.

Any ideas on how to respond to this?
Thanks in advance.
[/quote]

What is the truth?
Why is this questioned never asked? Its always, how do we respond?


#14

[quote=Steve Andersen]yeah I’ve heard that same old tired line too

while most other holidays clearly have pagan roots
Candlemass, Christmas, All Saints etc
Easter is one of the few holidays that was bona fide Christian from the start

most of the pagan holidays (at least in Europe where most of the early Christian “borrowings” occured) were tied into the quarter and cross quarter days

but Easter with its odd mix of being tied to a lunar callander, an equinox, and a day of the week does fit the pattern

it is too late for Imbolic and too early for Beltane

the confusion may come becasue the English word Easter
is related to early words used for spring time holidays and/or godess maybe

e.g. Eostre and Ostara

a lot of that is just neo pagan rantings

also some of the symbols such as flowers and eggs are similar but hey remember both the USA and the USSR used the five pointed star as an emblem so similar symbols can be just a coinsidence
[/quote]

Clearly Christ “the Passover Lamb” was not crucified on the day following Passover-------opppps my bad.
Clearly there was no anti-Semitism involved when a pagan holiday
eastore was chosen as opposed to a Jewish holiday -Firstfurits.
After all Jesus the firstfruit of the New Covenant is beter represented by mixing in pagan festivals as opposed to the God apppointed feasts. But then again it is better to have an answer for those who would say this is just another mixing of the holy with the profane in Catholic tradition than it is to know the truth and to obey the Lord God Almighty.


#15

[quote=JCPhoenix]People who use this argument have not studied language, even their own.

Does she say the days of the week in English? If so, by her logic, she is worshipping Norse gods. I don’t remember them all, but Tuesday came from the word “Thor’s Day”, and Thor was the Norse god of thunder.

What about the planets or certain elements? Mercury, a planet and a metal, Venus, the Roman goddess of love (or was she hunting?), Diana, a common girl’s name, Athena, another name I’ve seen used as a girl’s name in the modern world. Does saying all these names or deritives of these names condemn us to hell? If so, then she needs to stop speaking or writing altogether for fear she offend God through the derivitive of some pagan practice.
[/quote]

The early church chose the calender of pagans rather than the God given calender.


#16

Actually, Thor’s Day is Thursday, Wednesday is Odin’s Day (Thor’s father), Tuesday is Tyr’s Day (Thor’s brother) and Friday is Frey’s Day (Thor’s wife if I’m not mistaken.)

[quote=JCPhoenix]People who use this argument have not studied language, even their own.

Does she say the days of the week in English? If so, by her logic, she is worshipping Norse gods. I don’t remember them all, but Tuesday came from the word “Thor’s Day”, and Thor was the Norse god of thunder.

What about the planets or certain elements? Mercury, a planet and a metal, Venus, the Roman goddess of love (or was she hunting?), Diana, a common girl’s name, Athena, another name I’ve seen used as a girl’s name in the modern world. Does saying all these names or deritives of these names condemn us to hell? If so, then she needs to stop speaking or writing altogether for fear she offend God through the derivitive of some pagan practice.
[/quote]


#17

The 8th century St. Bede proposed that the word “Easter” is derived from the Scandinavian “Ostra” and the Teutonic “Ostern” or “Eastre,” both goddesses of mythology signifying spring and fertility whose festival was celebrated on the day of the vernal equinox.

The point is, so what? Are we going to quit saying the days of the week of the months of the year, or the word Easter, if we don’t like their derivation?

Christianity didn’t, after all, start the English language.


#18

[quote=Fr Ambrose]The Queen of feasts, the celebration of our Lord’s Resurrection, which most English speaking Christians know as Easter, is the centre of a surprising amount of controversy. Looks like you friend has been caught up in it…

Not only the date, but even the very name, has also been a source of controversy and disagreement. In Hebrew, the Passover is called Pesach. In most languages, the Christian Resurrection feast is called by a name based on this Hebrew word. Most Orthodox call it Pascha or a similar sounding name. The Irish form Cáisc is a cognate of Pascha. Only in English is it called Easter. According to some, this name is derived from that of an ancient pagan goddess of spring. This is not correct at all.

The article below is from Caedmon Parsons, an Orthodox Christian and scholar of the Middle Ages. In it he clarifies the true history of the word Easter.

There is absolutely no evidence for a Germanic goddess with a name in any way resembling the word “Easter”. Rather than the term being derived from a goddess, the supposed goddess is herself derived from the term. She was postulated by certain 19th century Germanic scholars in an attempt to explain the
etymology of the word. These same scholars (foremost among them the Grimm brothers, famous for their folk-tale collections and less well-known as the discoverers of the “Indo-European” linguistic family) had a very definite nationalist/ethnic agenda in which they were trying to rediscover the “real” roots of German culture. Thus the folk-tale collection’s avowed purpose was
to search for “survivals” of pre-Christian Germanic religion and culture.

The later connection of this invented figure to Astarte was sheer
fundamentalist propaganda based on a coincidental similarity in sound. Having dismissed Nativity/Christmas because it’s timing coincides with a number of pagan solar festivals, those fundamentalist groups which criticise all celebration of “holy days” thereby sought to discredit “Easter” whose general timing is well laid out in the Bible. If there was a connection with Astarte, it would be the only case of a Sumerian/Canaanite word coming into the Germanic languages without first passing through Hebrew and/or Greek into Latin and then into Germanic via the medium of Christianity.

There is some by no means conclusive evidence of a festival or holy day connected to the spring solstice. However, every recorded instance of the word’s usage has clear Christian connotations (i.e., if it ever was a pagan festival, it had effectively disappeared by the time people wrote using the term “Easter”). As to why this word is used in English and German: It is used in German for the simple reason that the pagans of modern-day Germany were missionised by Anglo-Saxon Christians such as St. Willibrord or the two St. Hewalds. The Germans thus got “Easter” the same way the Russians got “Pascha”.

Although the Grimm Brothers probably did conflate the issue, the goddess Eostre may be a valid concept. However, the only mention of a goddess Eostre is recorded in Bede’s 8th century 'De tempore Ratione"('On the Reckoning of Time) -
the book which helped popularise BC/AD dating. Since there is no other corroborating evidence Bede may be mistaken.

cont…
[/quote]

Father no pagan roots to the spring equinox? Surely even you dont believe that.
The author disagrees with the Vernable Bede, I suppose he is of no authority.
Easter was established by the nicene council.
For the early church to chose a day not associated with either Passover or Firstfruits in favor of a pagan holiday? And you would defend it?


#19

[quote=Sowndog]Easter is a totally Christian holiday. The main link to paganism is that Constantine used astronomers to decide what date Easter should be - there was a debate over whether it should be celebrated at the same time as Passover. The result was that Easter is celebrated on the first Sunday after the Spring Equinox (I think).
[/quote]

Easter has been paganized. The mixing the holy with the profane, the very thing God hates.


#20

[quote=Xavier]Easter has been paganized. The mixing the holy with the rofane, the very thing God hates.
[/quote]

How so. Give us clear and precise examples of how Catholic dogma displays paganism, and please cite the Code of Canon Law or the Catechism please, instead of your own or anyone else’s opinion.


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