How did Easter get its name?
Published 10:49 am Sunday, April 9, 2023
Christians and even many non-Christians likely know that Easter is the Christian celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Less widely known may be the origins of the name of this significant holiday.
Historians are not certain about the precise origins of the name “Easter.” Some believe the name can be traced to the English monk Bede, often referred to as “St. Bede the Venerable” or “The Venerable Bede.” According to History.com, in his most famous work, Ecclesiastical History of the English People, Bede asserts that the English word “Easter” can be traced to “Eostre” or “Eostrae,” which is the pagan Anglo-Saxon goddess of spring.
Many historians past and present echo this sentiment and believe Eostre is the namesake of Easter. However, others believe “Easter” comes from the Latin phrase “in albis,” which is plural for “alba” (dawn). That phrase became “eostarum” in Old High German, a language that historians have connected to Old English.
Though which camp is correct may never be resolved, there’s no denying that the word “Easter” represents the same spirit of rebirth that Christians celebrate each spring.