Friday, 6 April 2012

Easter ~ Pascha



 


I love the traditions and celebrations that punctuate our calendar and find the symbolism, history and philosophy behind them fascinating.  ~

The origins of the word Easter are said to come from the pagan tradition of worshipping the Anglo-Saxon goddess Eostre.   Bede tells us the Anglo-Saxon name for April was Eostre-Monath (the month of openings).   Over time Easter became part of the English language and was adopted by English speaking Christians, however in many European languages the word for Easter is derived from the word Passover – Pascha in Greek and Latin, Pasqua in Italian, Paques in French and Pascua in Spanish.

With the advent of Christianity in the early 1st and 2nd centuries the resurrection of Christ was remembered and celebrated  with the word Pascha, derived from and linked to the Jewish spring festival of Passover, or Pesach,  which had been celebrated for many centuries to commemorate the time of Moses leading the people of Israel out of slavery in Egypt.  This liberation led to the beginning of Judaism. 

These connections and links survive today in the form of two distinct symbolism: fertility and re-birth.  Celebrating the goddess Eostre gives us re-birth symbolised by the egg, and the hare which in turn became the Easter bunny.  Of course in both the Christian and Jewish faiths eggs, and thereby rebirth, play their part too with the Christian tradition of giving chocolate eggs at Easter to symbolise the re-birth of Christ and the hard-boiled eggs served on Passover to symbolise the freedom of the people of Israel.   Fascinating!

After a cold and frosty start in Suffolk this morning the sun is shining in a pale blue sky streaked with subtle whispers of cloud.  Perfect.  Wherever you are in the world, whatever your beliefs and whichever way you celebrate Easter have a good one and enjoy this most wonderful time of year.

Jeanne
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23 comments:

  1. Interesting. Have a wonderful Easter weekend, Jeanne.

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  2. ...and, then, there's the beautiful Pasque flower! (It ties in there somewhere...=])

    This can be such a desperately busy week for us - my husband being a pastor. Through the years, we've figured out how to breathe more freely through it. One thing that we've loved doing is going to the passover dinner hosted by a fellow pastor, Abraham Gross. As you could probably surmise - his origins are Jewish. It's a very meaningful and warmly friendly time. We leave with sparkles in our eyes from it and the mounds of asparagus that they're so generous to offer is always to die for. ;)

    There's nothing like Easter week in Jerusalem, though, I've heard. My husband lived there for two years. It sounds, from his accounts, loaded and deep and alive!

    I hope that you have a lovely and alive weekend, Jeanne - however you celebrate!

    Love,

    Katy xxo

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    1. I think you may be right about the Pasque flower Katy - I hadn't connected the two until now!

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  3. Grew up celebrating Easter, now I celebrate the cycles in the pagan traditions, but I love all the crossovers. Here, sun but cool. Have a lovely weekend!

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    1. Valerianna, your wonderful blog is a true reflection of your beliefs. Yes I agree, the cross-overs are essential and make Easter what it is to each of us.

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  4. I am a celebrant of Eostre, myself. Bright blessings to you at this joyous season of new beginnins. And thanks for the lovely tulips... what a pretty vase, too.

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    1. Over the past three years Marcheline I have learned a fair bit from your blog regarding Eostre - endlessly fascinating just like you!

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  5. Hello Jeanne:
    We too feel that our lives are always enriched by the customs and traditions of certain festivals throughout the year. This very day we attended a Good Friday service in the Anglican church in Budapest. Very simple and yet profoundly moving, it really does serve to make one think about the essentials of life.

    Your vase of classical shape and the deep purple fringed Tulips look wonderfully well together.

    Wishing you and your family all joy and happiness this Eastertide!

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    1. I agree - Easter for me is about reflection and nature and appreciating the simple things. The service must have been very moving and in such a wonderful building full of history.

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  6. Happy Easter, Jeanne-

    thank you for your interesting post!

    XO- Ines

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  7. I love the links between languages and the way we can trace the evolution of words, I wish I had time to study it more. Thanks for sharing this, and your lovely tulips!

    Have a good Easter weekend, the sun came out here for a bit but has now disappeared again. Hope you got some rain last week?

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    1. It was interesting doing the research Su. I love history and find theology fascinating although personally I do not subscribe to any religion or faith. I remember as a child going with my father to the Easter Parade in Central London which I loved.

      Yes, we've had rain - lots!

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  8. Have a nice easter weekend darling....love Ria...xxx...

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  9. It is a most wonderful time of year indeed Jeanne. Blue skies in Holland as well today. I spent a great part of it in the garden doing some light work and taking time to enjoy the sun as well. I can imagine you did too :-)

    I wish you and your loved ones a Happy Easter too.

    Lieve groet, Madelief x

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  10. That was very interesting - all those ancient links to this relatively modern celebration. Happy Easter to you, from a chilly Pacific northwest island.

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  11. Thanks for a fascinating post Jeanne. I love the origins of words and this has taught me things I did not know. Somewhere along the line we seem to have forgotten what this weekend is all about but your words have made me pause for thought. Have a great weekend yourself. I love those tulips by the way. Did you grow them? We planted loads but none of them have reached the minimum height they are meant to so they look a bit stunted in the garden. A big disappointment! Not enough rain to bulk up those bulbs - even here in soggy Wales.

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    1. Easter has always been more of a secular celebration in the UK but yes I agree - it is a time to pause and think beyond our everyday lives.

      Unfortunately the tulips are not from my garden. I planted my bulbs way too late and as of today I'm still waiting for them to bloom!

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  12. I alwasy find the origins of words and traditions so fascinating. Hope you have a wonderful Easter weekend:)

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    1. I found the research very interesting. From reading your posts Rosie I get the impression that you are a history buff too!

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  13. dear jeanne,
    that was very interesting...
    happy easter to you and your family,
    love regina

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  14. Thank you for your lovely comments, and from each of your personal viewpoints. The tulips are for you! x

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Thank you for taking the time to visit my blog and for indulging me in my musings. I enjoy reading your comments and will reply, time and tide permitting, on this page... at some juncture ... which may be several days later ... oh to have more time to blog!

I love to visit you in return also.

Jeanne
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