As easter is… semi-important for the Christians among us, I thought it prudent to do a few more posts than usual these days. If nothing else, there’s so much one can make fu… comment on.

So here’s some etymology for you reading pleasure.

Swedish word “påsk” seems taken straight from the Christian school books. As many other languages it stems from “pesach” which is hebrew for “passover”, the Jewish feast celbrating the exodus from Egypt, and is seen in early swedish as “paach”, “pach”, “pask”, “posk” etc.

The English word is a bit more fun. In popular science it seems fairly established that the word “easter” stems from Eostre, an Anglo-Saxon goddess of spring. However, in reality things arn’t always that clear. Eostre is first mentioned by St. Bede in his De temporum ratione. Jacob Grimm (of the Grimm brothers) took it up. And so it goes. But there’s no earlier mentioning of Eostre we can find, so possible Bede was incorrect. On the other hand, why would a Christian scholar like him make up a pagan goddess? And there is also the etymology, German “ostern” has been suggested as a root, but then, it might as well be the other way around.

In any case, that easter is modelled on top of an older holy day shoudn’t surprise anyone. The list of gods and goddesses preceeding Christianity is quite long. The execution of Christ takes place in the Passover. His birth is funnily enough in midwinter. I’m just surprised there isn’t a major Christian celebration at midsummer as well.

So there you go dear English readers. Eggs, spring flowers, young flesh. You’re celebrating the goddess of the dawn, fertility and re-growth. Don’t let the priests tell you differently.

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