In French, I would be greeting you with a ‘Joyeuses Pâques’; in Italian, we could welcome in Resurrection Sunday with a ‘Buona Pasqua’; while in Greek, we might both say ‘Καλό πάσχα’.
Although Germans also insist on the ‘Easter’ cognate ‘Ostern’, elsewhere across the Indo-European world, you would be greeted with a beautiful medley of ‘pascha’ cognates: ‘Pasg Hapus’ in Welsh, ‘Vrolijk Pasen’ in Dutch, ‘Glad Påsk’ in Swedish, ‘¡Felices Pascuas!’ in Spanish, and ‘Boa Páscoa’ in Portuguese.
What profanity to use the name for a pagan fertility goddess for the most significant Christian holiday! What a compromise with the culture of their time on the part of our spiritual ancestors!
It is instructive to note the etymological connections between Old English Easterdæg, the name of the ancient Babylonian goddess Ishtar, and one imagines, the name of the Canaanite goddess Asherah. Scripture specifically warns, “”You shall not plant for yourself an Asherah of any kind of tree beside the altar of the LORD your God, which you shall make for yourself” in Deuteronomy 16.21. The general rule of not mixing the sacred and the profane is stressed repeated in the Bible. We are to honour the Creator, and not the created thing.
Surely one of the advantages of living in post-Christian Europe and the slowly secularising New World is that Christians can abandon this notion that we owe it to the culture to preserve these pagan holdovers. What is left of the faithful Church must refocus on pleasing God not man, taking instruction primarily from Scripture, and holding on to what is God-honouring in Christian heritage.
How much better to worship the Author of Time, rather than a small part of His creation, namely fertility and spring. Let’s return the eggs and bunnies to the pagans.
Christ is risen!
He is risen indeed!
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