Monday, April 2, 2012

Word of the Week - Easter


Since it's Holy Week, I thought I'd try to find a word that looked forward to the path that Jesus walked in these next few days--and I knew "Easter" had some background, so it was the winner. ;-)

When Anglo-Saxon Christians first started celebrating the Mass of Christ's Resurrection, they gave it the name Easter, after Eastre, the goddess of fertility and spring, whose holiday was likely the vernal equinox. All neighboring languages use a word derived from Latin pasche, or passover. (Which makes a while lot more sense.) 

Easter eggs are attested from 1824, the Easter Bunny from 1909. And as a matter of fact, Easter Island is so named because the discoverer did so on Easter Monday! (Actually, he was the second to discover it, but the first didn't bother naming it.)

And though Christianity has a long history of "taking over" pagan holidays and traditions and using them to get new converts to observe Christianity instead, I have to say I don't like the English word. I'd never paused to consider it until my piano teacher back in the day refused to use the word "Easter" and instead called it "Resurrection Day." (Of which I fully approve!) She would even retitle songs for our recitals when necessary. One year I was playing "Easter Song" on the organ, and it because "Resurrection Song."

But no matter what we call it, this time of year remains my favorite. I love this week leading up to that most glorious day. This Thursday we'll be observing Maundy Thursday with a messianic seder feast, which I'm really looking forward to. Our usual church service will be on Saturday, and Sunday morning we'll have an outdoor sunrise service focusing on the resurrection, followed by a breakfast.

And of course, we're cramming our school week into 3 days so that we can begin our Spring Break in time for the holiday. I hope everyone has a blessed, blessed Holy Week!

3 comments:

  1. You will LOVE that messianic passover service. My first was such a blessing (and I grew up doing "non-messianic" ones!).

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  2. Aren't they amazing? This will be my third one. The first was led by a pastor who was a Messianic Jew, and he did such an amazing job. Then my church did one four years ago (a bit more bumbling since I didn't get the print-out on it to my dad until half an hour before the dinner, LOL). We're really looking forward to doing it again!

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  3. This is such a great post! Thank you for sharing!

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