Word of the Day 4/4/2010

4 04 2010

Easter

Definition: Easter, n-

  1. One of the great festivals of the Christian Church, commemorating the resurrection of Christ, and corresponding to the Jewish passover, the name of which it bears in most of the European langs. (Gr. {pi}{alpha}{sigma}{chi}{gaacu}, ad. Heb. pésa{hdotbl}, L. pascha, Fr. Pâques, It. Pasqua, Sp. Pascua, Du. pask). According to the modern rule it is observed on the first Sunday after the calendar fullmoon{em}i.e. ‘not the actual full moon, but the 14th day of the calendar moon’ (Bp. Butcher){em}which happens on or next after 21 March. In ordinary language Easter is often applied to the entire week commencing with Easter Sunday.
  2. The Jewish passover.

Etymology

Old English éastre = Old High German ôstara; the strong forms appearing seem to have been derived from the combining form éastor-. Bæda Temp. Rat. xv. derives the word from Eostre (Northumb. spelling of Éastre), the name of a goddess whose festival was celebrated at the vernal equinox; her name (:{em}OTeut. *austrôn- cogn. w. Skr. usr{amac} dawn; ) shows that she was originally the dawn-goddess.]

Modern Usage

Follows definition 1.  Though, the bold text above shows it the celebrations true origins.

All definitions and etymology information was obtained using the Online Oxford English Dictionary.

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