Updated: Apr 2
by BHW Click here for a pdf.
Some modern churches prefer not to use the name Easter and refer instead to Resurrection Sunday. This is because the name is said to be based on that of an English goddess of Spring or of the dawn, Eostre (according to an ancient Christian monk, Venerable Bede around 800 A.D.), or alternatively to a Mesopotamian goddess Astarte.
Alternatively, the word Easter, or Oster in German, (there is no evidence that it is derived from 'East'), may be of Anglo-Saxon Christian origin. Other aspects of Easter that are old Christian practices, include decorated eggs (signifying new life, i.e. resurrection, in the Northern Spring, the opening of Christ's tomb signified by cracking open the egg), likewise bunnies (or hares). William Tyndale introduced the word Easter into his New Testament translation from the original Greek.
Hot cross buns are for Good Friday (God's Friday), but now they are on sale immediately after Christmas, such is the commodification of our Christian festivals. The Sunday before Easter, known as Palm Sunday in many churches, especially the Eastern churches, begins the week properly called Holy Week. Thus, the Saturday before Easter Day is Holy Saturday, not Easter Saturday, despite what the media will tell us this week. Easter Saturday is the Saturday after Easter Day.
Easter Sunday was set at the Council of Nicea in the 4th century as a Spring holiday, immediately after the first full moon after the Spring equinox as calculated with remarkable (but not total) accuracy then by Alexandrian astronomers.
The use of "Resurrection Sunday", though, ignores the fact that the days of the week are also named after pagan gods, from the time of the Babylonians, the seven planets of the ancient world which are the seven celestial bodies that wander across the skies relative to all other stars which are fixed in relation to each other (Latin, planetare = to wander). Sunday is the Sun, an ancient god in many cultures. Monday is the Moon, likewise. Tuesday is Tiw, a Norse equivalent of Mars (note, Mardi in French). Wednesday is Wotan (Mercury, Mercredi in French). Thursday is Thor (Jupiter). Friday is Freya or Frigga (Venus). Saturday is Saturn.
So we'll have to rename Easter Sunday as 'Easter Day' or 'Resurrection Day' to avoid all pagan associations. Good Friday will be harder to rename so I won't go there.
For a very interesting article on all this in the Creation.com website, click here. But note, the author there is very certain that he is right. He may not be.