Easter (Ēostre (Old English); Greek: Πάσχα Paskha, from Hebrew: פֶּסַחPesakh,/Passover) is the central religious feast in the Christian liturgical year. According to Christian scripture, Jesus was resurrected from the dead on the third day after hiscrucifixion. Some Christians celebrate this resurrection on Easter Day or Easter Sunday(also Resurrection Day or ResurrectionSunday), two days after Good Friday and three days after Maundy Thursday. The chronology of his death and resurrection is variously interpreted to be between AD 26 and AD 36. Easter also refers to the season of the church year called Eastertide or the Easter Season. Traditionally the Easter Season lasted for the forty days from Easter Day until Ascension Day but now officially lasts forthe fifty days until Pentecost. The first week of the Easter Season is known as Easter Week or the Octave of Easter. Easter also marks the end of Lent, a season of fasting, prayer, and penance.
Easter is a moveable feast, meaning it is not fixed in relation to the civil calendar. The First Council of Nicaea (325) established the date of Easter as the first Sunday after the full moon (the PaschalFull Moon) following the northern hemisphere's vernal equinox.Ecclesiastically, the equinox is reckoned to be on March 21 (regardless of the astronomically correct date), and the "Full Moon" is not necessarily the astronomically correct date. The date of Easter therefore varies between March 22 and April 25. Eastern Christianity bases its calculations on the Julian Calendar whose March 21corresponds, during the twenty-first century, to April 3 in the Gregorian Calendar, in which calendar their celebration of Easter therefore varies between April 4 and May 8.
Easter is linked to the Jewish Passover by much of its symbolism, as well as by its position in the calendar. In most European languages the feast called Easter in English is termed by the words for passover in those languagesand in the older English versions of the Bible the term Easter was the term used to translate passover.
Relatively newer elements such as the Easter Bunny and Easter egg hunts have become part of the holiday's modern celebrations, and those aspects are often celebrated by many Christians and non-Christians alike. There are also some Christian denominations who do notcelebrate Easter.
Popular modern depictions of Easter can be viewed as a celebration of spring.
English and German
The modern English term Easter developed from the Old English word Ēastre or Ēostre(IPA: [ˈæːɑstre, ˈeːostre]), which itself developed prior to 899. The name refers to Eostur-monath, a month of the Germanic calendar attested by Bede, who writes that the month is named afterthegoddess Ēostre of Anglo-Saxon paganism. Bede notes that Ēostur-monath was the equivalent to the month of April, yet that feasts held in her honor during Ēostur-monath had died out by the time of his writing and had been replaced with the Christian custom of "Paschal season".
Using comparative linguistic evidence from continental Germanic sources, the 19th century scholarJacob Grimm proposed the existence ofa cognate form of Ēostre among the pre-Christian beliefs of the continental Germanic peoples, whose name he reconstructed as *Ostara.
Linguists have identified the goddess as a Germanic form of the reconstructed Proto-Indo-Europeangoddess of the dawn, *Hausos, some scholars have debated whether or not Eostra is an invention of Bede's, and theories connecting Ēostre with records ofGermanic Easter customs (including hares and eggs) have been proposed.
Modern German features the cognate term Ostern, but otherwise, Germanic languages generally use the non-native term pascha for the event (see below).
Semitic, Romance, Celtic and other Germanic languages
The Greek word Πάσχα and hence the Latin form Pascha is derived from Hebrew Pesach (פֶּסַח) meaning the festival of Passover. In...