Easter
Word and Phrase Origins

What are the origins of Easter?

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Answer

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03/11/2009

Easter is the highest holy day of the Christian calendar and the most important religious feast in the Christian liturgical year. Christians believe that Jesus was resurrected from the dead three days after his crucifixion, and celebrate this resurrection on Easter Day or Easter Sunday, two days after Good Friday. It is the most ancient of Christian holiday celebrations. The English name for the holiday, "Easter," comes from the Old English word Ēastre or Ēostre, and refers to Eostur-monath, a month of the Germanic calendar attested by the Venerable Bede as named for the goddess Ēostre of Anglo-Saxon paganism. In other languages, the holiday is referred to as "Pascha" or versions of "Great Day." Easter is a moveable feast, as its precise dating depends on the lunar and solar calendars. Easter traditions vary from culture to culture. Northern European cultures (and those derived from them) have adopted many of the ancient fertility symbols and rituals of paganism, e.g. Easter bunny and painted eggs. Many cultures decorate eggs in spring, but perhaps the best-known are Ukrainian Easter Eggs, also called Pysanky. You can learn more about this art form by checking out the Pysanky Egg Art section of Wiki Answer under Hobbies and Collectibles/Arts and Crafts (see link below).