TREASURES FROM OUR TRADITION
Most languages take the name for this fifty-day season from the Lord’s Passover: Pasqua in Italian, Pâques in French, Paach in Dutch, Pascha in Greek and Russian. English has a much newer name, the name of a pagan goddess, Eoster. For centuries before Christianity took hold, in both Germany and Britain the spring equinox was dedicated to her and the concepts of fertility and rebirth. She was said to be a playful spirit, following the Sun King’s chariot, and ending the reign of winter. She had a magical companion, a rabbit who hid eggs in the fields to coax plants and animals to rebirth. It was believed that Eoster once came across a bird with broken wings and saved it by turning it into a rabbit—an egg-laying rabbit at that! Although they were baptized, most people didn’t take to the new Latin name (Pascha Domini) too easily, and kept calling the spring equinox by the old accustomed name. For good measure, they kept a pagan name for Christmas, too: Yule.
—Rev. James Field, Copyright © J. S. Paluch Co
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