Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter? Ishtar? Earlier?

Origins of the name "Easter":

The name "Easter" originated with the names of an ancient Goddess and God. The Venerable Bede, (672-735 CE.) a Christian scholar, first asserted in his book De Ratione Temporum that Easter was named after Eostre (a.k.a. Eastre). She was the Great Mother Goddess of the Saxon people in Northern Europe. Similarly, the "Teutonic dawn goddess of fertility [was] known variously as Ostare, Ostara, Ostern, Eostra, Eostre, Eostur, Eastra, Eastur, Austron and Ausos." 1 Her name was derived from the ancient word for spring: "eastre." Similar Goddesses were known by other names in ancient cultures around the Mediterranean, and were celebrated in the springtime. Some were:
bullet Aphrodite, named Cytherea (Lady of Cythera) and Cypris (Lady of Cyprus) after the two places which claimed her birth; 8
bullet Ashtoreth from ancient Israel;
bullet Astarte from ancient Greece;
bullet Demeter from Mycenae;
bullet Hathor from ancient Egypt;
bullet Ishtar from Assyria;
bullet Kali, from India; and
bulletOstara a Norse Goddess of fertility.
An alternative explanation has been suggested. The name given by the Frankish church to Jesus' resurrection festival included the Latin word "alba" which means "white." (This was a reference to the white robes that were worn during the festival.) "Alba" also has a second meaning: "sunrise." When the name of the festival was translated into German, the "sunrise" meaning was selected in error. This became "ostern" in German. Ostern has been proposed as the origin of the word "Easter". 2
There are two popular beliefs about the origin of the English word "Sunday."
bulletIt is derived from the name of the Scandinavian sun Goddess Sunna (a.k.a. Sunne, Frau Sonne). 5,6
bulletIt is derived from "Sol," the Roman God of the Sun." Their phrase "Dies Solis" means "day of the Sun." The Christian saint Jerome (d. 420) commented "If it is called the day of the sun by the pagans, we willingly accept this name, for on this day the Light of the world arose, on this day the Sun of Justice shone forth." 7

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