The pagan goddess behind Easter

Most languages use Aramaic to describe Jesus’s resurrection. Why is English different? Meet the ‘woman’ to blame.

The Roman  Catholic Church brought paganizem into its center, and claim Easter to a part of the Christian faith.
The Roman Catholic Church brought paganizem into its center, and claim Easter to a part of the Christian faith.

Why do only English speakers celebrate “Easter”?

Most other peoples of the world call the holiday observed by Christians this Sunday by some variant of the word “Pascha.” (Eastern Orthodox churches will observe the holiday on April 12.)

Blame it on a woman — and no ordinary woman at that — a goddess.

As recounted by the English monk Bede, the 7th-8th century “father of English history,” the former pagans in England called April, or the month marking Jesus’s resurrection, “Ēosturmōnaþ” — Old English for the “Month of Ēostre.”

According to Bede in his “De temporum ratione” (“The Reckoning of Time”), the Christian holiday “was called after a goddess of theirs named Ēostre, in whose honor feasts were celebrated in that month.”

Ēostre is variously depicted by scholars as a fertility goddess and a goddess of dawn and light. The dawn connection could explain a linguistic link between Ēostre and the word “east.”

An academic and a Christian missionary, Bede’s reference to Ēostre (or Ostara) is textually unique, to the extent that many throughout the centuries have asserted it was fabricated. It was only in the 1950s that archeological evidence was found supporting his claim of such a goddess in England. But recently, work was done at the University of Leicester on place names and their connections to Ēostre, which, arguably, buttress Bede’s version.

Easter is based on the festival of Ishtar, a pagan goddess.
Easter is based on the festival of Ishtar, a pagan goddess.

In almost every other international language, the holiday is called by some permutation of “Pesach,” the Hebrew word for the Passover holiday/sacrifice.

According to an essay by Hebrew University Prof. Steven Fassberg, during the period of history marking the birth of the Christian church, both Hebrew and Aramaic were used in the Galilee, where Jesus’s ministry was based. In Aramaic, the holiday is called “Pascha.”

The Hebrew word “pesach” is a noun, but it can also be inflected as a verb to mean, depending on the biblical context, “skip over” in a physical sense (according to rabbinical scholar Rashi), or more spiritually as “spare” (as used in the Aramaic translation by Roman convert to Judaism Onkelos in the first century CE).

The authors of the Septuagint, the translation of the Hebrew Bible into Greek completed in 132 BCE, also used the more spiritual connotations of the word, as in to save or to hide. This Greek version of the Old Testament was eventually used by most early Christians in the Roman Empire.

The Gospel of John, written in Greek around the first-second century CE, goes further and uses the Passover motif in calling Jesus the “lamb of God” — an allusion to the priestly Passover sacrifice on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount.

Interestingly, only the Hebrew noun “Pesach” is transmitted to Aramaic, not the verb forms, where it begins to take on a further meaning — the Christian observance of Jesus’s resurrection.

Today, Modern Hebrew has readopted the Aramaic word “Pascha” to mean the Christian celebration of Jesus’s resurrection, not the Jewish Passover.

So how is it that one of the two major Christian holidays was named by Anglo Saxons after a pagan deity?

And how is it that this name was not only tolerated, but eventually became its normative moniker throughout the English-speaking world?

According to the 1835 “Deutsche Mythologie” by Jacob Grimm, “This Ostarâ, like the [Anglo-Saxon] Eástre, must in heathen religion have denoted a higher being, whose worship was so firmly rooted, that the Christian teachers tolerated the name, and applied it to one of their own grandest anniversaries.”

In other words, early Church fathers seemed to take the tack that if you can’t beat them, join them — and “usurp” an existing holiday for Christian purposes.

Historically Easter is not the first instance of a pagan ritual described by Bede that is now imbued with Christian meaning. Also in “The Reckoning of Time,” Bede describes the Anglo-Saxon Pagans’ “Mōdraniht,” (Old English for “Night of the Mothers”) that was held on December 24, or Christmas Eve.

Many Christians are uncomfortable in acknowledging the Easter holiday’s pagan name. Others are taking a more philosophical approach and making a valiant effort to rebrand it. “In an attempt to honor God, many have desired to move away from the term Easter, using Resurrection Day in its place,” writes one website.

But for today, Christians around the world observe Easter with prayer and feasting on a traditional meal, which at many tables includes grandmother’s famous recipe for “paschal” lamb.

Source:  The Times of Israel

My comment

A secular Israeli newspaper writes the truth about a bid to paganize Biblical Christianity. Large sectors of the Protestant Church keep quiet, and pretend that we do not have a problem.

Why should we expect the Jews to accept a paganized gospel?

The Anglo-Saxon Church was based on paganism that came from Rome. The Celtic Church originally held on to the Jewish calendar, and celebrated the passover sacrifice of Jesus on the 14th of Nissan.  The Roman Catholic monks won over the majority of Celtic kings and bishops to follow the calendar of the Pope in 664 A.D, at the synod of Withby.

With this victory of the papacy, followed an arsenal of not Biblical stuff. The British Isle saw the criminalization of Judaism, and the abolishment of the Jewish calendar. The Catholics had to celebrate the papal good friday in the week of the festival of honor the pagan goddess Ishtar.

This almost 1400 year old introduction of paganism into the Church, is still rejected as falsehood by true disciples of Jesus the Messiah.  They will not accept lies as truth, even lies that have been told millions of times, and have been enforced into our culture and school systems.  But most of the world has surrendered to the festival of the Roman Catholic religion, and present the festivals of the papacy as true Christianity. All who claim otherwise will be hated and ridiculed.  All who want to live a honest and truthful life for the Messiah will be persecuted.

Repent or perish.

Written by Ivar

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18 thoughts on “The pagan goddess behind Easter

  1. The word “Easter” has always somewhat offended me since I learned the truth about the word. I usually refer to the “Celebration of the Lord’s Resurrection” which is somewhat awkward, but preferable to honoring a pagan deity. One wonders if it is even appropriate to celebrate it annually at all, since the early Church likely did not. Jewish believers in Jesus would have celebrated the annual Jewish festivals. The Lord Himself only asked us to celebrate it in the context of Communion, which should be done frequently, not annually. In any case, the meaning gets obscured by “Easter” bunnies and eggs, etc. (all harkening back to the fertility rites of the pagans–and some of those rites were really awful).

    Many of the trappings of Christmas are equally troublesome: “Christmas” trees, “Yule” logs, mistletoe and holly, etc. are all part of pagan mythology. But, it can be argued that, just because Islam uses the crescent moon and a star as symbols, doesn’t mean that the devil owns the moon and stars. The Book of Revelation (chapter 12) uses the sun, moon and stars to symbolize the majesty of the Nation of Israel as “she” gives birth to Messiah (and, by extension, to the Church).

    It is probably best to be aware of the pagan origins and discourage the paganism while emphasizing the desire to honor the Lord Jesus, and Him alone, with our celebration. I think it is also important to teach our children about Our Lord’s ministry to the Jews and that their turning away (see Romans 11) led to our salvation. It should be a point of humility for us that we are merely grafted into the Tree of Righteousness because of God’s mercy in calling us out of darkness–that calling the Jews back to righteousness was the expressed purpose of Jesus’ ministry.

    It is a wonderful thing to attend a Messianic Jewish celebration of “Jesus in the Passover”. I would recommend it to all who follow Messiah Jesus. Not that we can ever be anything but Gentiles (I very much disagree with the “Hebrew Roots” movement) but celebrating our salvation along with them is very meaningful. It brings to life the Scripture that says we are one people–“…no Jew, no Greek (Gentile)…”

  2. all one has to do is research behind these holidays to see if they line up with the Word of God…and what Jesus/Yahshua taught…. it’s that simple….Doesn’t God/Yahweh say He will NOT share His Glory with another… How many gods do we have in America? let alone religious groups each claiming to be right…I myself noticed 2 Passovers..this year on the calander jewish and orthodox.. which one is correct and mostly who changed the days…Salvation is the most important thing and must not forget it…to be born again of the Spirit…the 2nd Adam who died to set us free from sin and death….

  3. Amen Ivar! You are among the handful who call it what it is, a Pagan festival! Why does the ‘world’ celebrate this holiday if they hate Jesus? Obviously they are celebrating something quite different that the resurrection of Jesus Christ. In the King James Bible they made a big error in Acts 14:4. They put the word Easter in instead of Passover. Most of the reformers wereRoman Catholic’s who left the religion after reading the Bible and seeing the truth for themselves. Some did not and are part of the many groups of secret society’s, and Apostate churches who are trying to reverse the reformation, like the Jesuits. This celebration is part of Nimrod’s rebellion and his wife Semiramis (Mary of Roman Catholic Church today). It’s an abomination to the Lord! We celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus every day, the true born again ones who love Him. “The children gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead their dough, to make cakes to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto other god, that they may provoke me to anger.” Jeremiah 7:18. She is also known as the Queen of Babylon, and the leader of Babylon’s mystery religion. The King of Babylon is none other than Satan himself. Dr. David Hocking wrote an excellent book called “Babylon It’s History and Prophesies”. Of which I got out of this book, He says, “Easter which supposedly celebrates the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ is nothing more than the worship of Astarte, one of the titles of the Queen of Heaven. On Assyrian monuments, the name is Ishtar, from which we get the pagan practice of Easter. Socrates, the ecclesiastical historian said of Rome’s celebration of Easter: “Thus much already laid down may seem a sufficient treatise to prove that the celebration of the feast of Easter began everywhere more of custom than by any commandment either of Christ or any Apostle,” Of buns and eggs he says, “The hot cross buns of Good Friday, and the dyed eggs of Easter Sunday, were also Chaldean rites and were used in the worship of the Queen of Heaven, the goddess of Easter (Ishtar) at least 1500 years before the Christian era.” Of the sacrifice of the mass he says, “In the 4th century AD, the Queen of Heaven (under the name of Mary, the mother of Jesus) was beginning to be worshipped in the Christian Church. Epiphanius states that the practice of offering and eating an “un-bloody sacrifice” began with the women of Arabia, and a that time it was well known to have been adopted and originated from the pagans.” The very shape of it (small thin, round wafer) came from pagan sources, originating in Babylonianism (picturing the sun).” Thank you Ivar! Shalom

    1. Dear nannette

      Shalom and love in Jesus.

      You wrote:

      We celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus every day, the true born again ones who love Him.

      My comment:

      Lets make a list of different kinds of Christians, so we can help the reader to identify him self:
      1. Not Bible-beliving Christian.
      2. Christian by culture.
      3. Christian by birth.
      4. Christian every Sunday.
      5. Christian during Christmas and Easter.
      6. Christian when there is a function in a Church.
      7. Chrustian who trust, obey, relay on and live for Jesus every day.

      1. Born again Bible believing Christians celebrate Christ’s resurrection everyday. I know others do it in ignorance (Once a year on the pagan holiday-Easter), but we according to the word of God, “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” John 3:3 “And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain, ye are yet in your sins.” 1 Corinthians 15:17. “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbeliever’s. For what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what art hath he that believeth with and infidel?” 2 Corinthians 6:14&15. I as a Bible Believing Christians believe the Bible and it is 100% accurate. Believer’s don’t pick and choose which scripture to believe. It’s not allegory, the church has NOT replaced Israel which is what most of the churches believe to day. “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15 Blessings!

      2. Excuse me, but Catholics celebrate the life, death, and resurrection every day in the mass. Every day. We aren’t pagan, and nowhere in the bible is the doctrine of believing only in the bible. That’s because the Catholic Church existed before the New Testament, wrote the New Testament, and compiled the New Testament. “Bible believing” Christians are protestants who trace their beliefs back to heretics, while Catholics trace their beliefs back to Jesus. That is a fact, and that is why places like this with its misguided soul and over 20,000 + denominations of Christianity hate the divinity of the Catholic Church. Jesus, not mere man, is its head, and always has been. And He commands the Bishop of Rome to lead through Him on earth. It’s all in the scriptures. There are none so blind as those who will not see.

      3. norm640

        Shalom, and love in Jesus.

        You wrote:

        and nowhere in the bible is the doctrine of believing only in the bible.

        My comment:

        This is the core of the problem. You are not a Bible believing Christian. Whatever verse from the Scripture I use in a bid to convince you that you are wrong, can in your opinion be set a side by the revelations claimed by the Pope’s. That is how a religion is formed. That is how deceptions and false “Christs” can start to guide us towards destruction.

      4. Norm, You say it’s all in the scriptures. Show me in the scriptures what you say is true. Give me verses and prove yourself. Prove to me through scripture that He commands the bishop of Rome to lead through Him on earth. Prove to me in the Bible where the mass is mentioned, prove to me from the word of God where purgatory is mentioned. Prove to me from the word of God that the Catholic church rules all. Prove to me that Mary is mediator, that she was sinless, a perpetual virgin. Prove it. You cannot. It is not in the Bible what say, you have been deceived. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” 2 Timothy 3:16

  4. The Jewish feasts curiously passover a specific feast for the resurrection day. It simply lands during the days of unleavened bread. I can see where people would want to celebrate such an important day. Easter does incorporate elements of the passover meal which are relevant to the resurrection. The egg in the passover meal which symbolizes ressurection or rebirth. And bread, (I’m not Jewish, im aquiring this information from a dvd called feasts of the bible) which says there is also a piece of unleavened bread which is broken and hidden for children to find. That would seem to represent Jesus body which nobody could find on the resurrection day.

    And I suppose the true meaning of Easter hidden behind some pagan goddess provides a challenge for us, all the children of God, while looking for their hidden piece of unleavened bread, the Lord Jesus Christ.

  5. Ed Jones. God hates the mixture. Truth and error. False teaching verses true teaching. Leaven is a picture of sin. In the Exodus the children of Israel were in Egypt over 400 years with the false gods of Egypt all around them. The Passover is recorded in Exodus 12. Read it, does it mentioned dyed eggs, and hide and seek games? In the wilderness is where God was revealing Himself to them. He did mighty works for 40 years and they could not enter the land because of unbelief, only the ones born in the wilderness entered the land. Passover and Easter do not have anything in common. Different gods. The true God of Israel as the Passover lamb verses the false god Satan of Easter. We just told you that the god of Easter is not Messiah Jesus. Anti Christ cometh, the world will believe him, he will come in his own name, him they will believe. Who will you believe? “Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness. When your fathers tempted me, proved (challenged) me, and saw my works 40 years. Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, they do always err in their heart; and they have not known my ways. So I sware in my wrath, they shall not enter into my rest.” Hebrews 3:8-11

    1. It doesn’t say they couldn’t dye eggs or play hide and seek. The law permits them to make food for everyone to eat, and they do eat the eggs. Children playing hide and seek isn’t work and doesn’t violate the law.

      I wouldn’t even have known it was about some pagan goddess if nobody said anything. It’s just a name for a day when they celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. And there are no Jewish feasts specific to that day.

      Paul had no problem with technicalities like that. Everything was ok as long as you didnt believe in the false gods or knowingly or accidentally teach others to believe in them. Romans 14:14 I am convinced, being fully persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for that person it is unclean.

      Romans 14:17 Therefore do not let what is for you a good thing be spoken of as evil; for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. For he who in this way serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men.…

  6. Not to burst your bubble, because I know hating the Catholic Church is your goal, but the Latin and Greek cultures were PAGAN before Christianity, and so the words they used to describe, Pasch, Pascha, etc., were Pagan names for their Hebrew and Aramaic descriptors. “Easter” was named after a pagan Goddess, but so are the months of the year. That a pagan practice transformed into a Christian celebration of the Resurrection is a testament to the mission Jesus gave to His disciples: convert the world.

    Now, you may think that Catholics are a bunch of idol worshippers, but oddly, everything you know about Christ comes from the Church. The New Testament was assembled by the Church. Its worldwide spread came from the Church. Its honoring the Saints is also biblical.

    Today we celebrate Jesus who died to free us from sin. But apparently you’re more concerned with hating His Church than to loving Him.

    1. Dear MIke Yerian

      Shalom, and love in Jesus.

      You wrote:

      Today we celebrate Jesus who died to free us from sin. But apparently you’re more concerned with hating His Church than to loving Him.

      My comment:

      I love the Roman Catholics. Some of them are my best friends. I am surronded by hundreds of thousands of them. I love them enough to display to them, that their religion is built on deceptions. To not do so, will be to love them the whole way towards the gates of Hell.

      Jesus the Messiah loved people enough to tell them who they are. Some were called brood of wipers, sons of the devil, whithwashed tombs, and hypocrites. Yes, He has defeated sin. Yes, all powers in Heaven and on Earth is in His hands. Yes. Jesus the Messiah has rissen.

  7. The Lain and Greek cultures were Pagan cultures. Their words for the Holiest day in Christianity are their versions of the Hebrew and Aramaic. And, as Greek and Latin cultures were converted by Christianity, the Church used the old terminology (pagan) for good (Christian). Our months are named after Roman and Greek gods, yet we don’t worship them. And so when the Church converted the Anglo-Saxon people, they took their old holiday based on a Goddess, eliminated it and replaced it with Pascha (which the church used in Latin throughout the world until Vatican II) and the lay person called Easter.

    God makes things new. Christianity is the biggest religion on the planet, and it is because of Jesus’ command of his apostles to make disciples of all nations. Easter wasn’t named to honor a goddess, it was named to bring pagans to Jesus. And it did.

    You write in a pagan tongue, by the way. Better write exclusively in Old Hebrew or Aramaic. Thanks.

  8. Norm 640, you said:

    “Not to burst your bubble, because I know hating the Catholic Church is your goal, but the Latin and Greek cultures were PAGAN before Christianity, and so the words they used to describe, Pasch, Pascha, etc., were Pagan names for their Hebrew and Aramaic descriptors. “Easter” was named after a pagan Goddess, but so are the months of the year. That a pagan practice transformed into a Christian celebration of the Resurrection is a testament to the mission Jesus gave to His disciples: convert the world.”

    My reply:
    Norm, “…hating the Catholic Church” is not a goal that anyone here has. But we, as much as our ancient Reformation forebears, have a problem with much that goes on in the RCC. Just as the Reformers were interested in confronting the RCC with unbiblical and even sinful practices, so we call them to task, since they hold sway over millions of souls. Ivar has always confronted sin and false teaching in the non-Catholic, Christian world as well.

    You said:
    “Now, you may think that Catholics are a bunch of idol worshipers, but oddly, everything you know about Christ comes from the Church. The New Testament was assembled by the Church. Its worldwide spread came from the Church. Its honoring the Saints is also biblical.”

    My reply:
    I have Catholic friends and family–I have always been troubled by the attachment to “religious objects” but, I don’t blame them, I blame the leadership of the RCC which promotes this sort of thing. I would disagree with your supposition that the RCC is responsible for the Bible. It was assembled in the same basic form that we see today at least 100 years before the RCC itself was formed by the edict of Constantine. While “honoring” those believers who went before us (and many were martyred by the Roman Catholic Church) is biblical, praying to them is NOT!

    You said:
    “Today we celebrate Jesus who died to free us from sin. But apparently you’re more concerned with hating His Church than to loving Him.”

    My reply:
    We love Him and we love the Church–His Bride. No one church has the right to claim to be the exclusive Church. There are true believers in every church and there are also unbelievers in every church (see the letters to the seven churches of Revelation–all but two churches were scolded for corruption and unbelief). The RCC seems to have more than its share of corruption at the top. We love Catholics enough to share the truth with them.

  9. Job3627, you could add to your reply: “What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision? Much every way: Chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God.” Romans 3:1&2. We got the scriptures from the Jews! We got our Savior from the Jewish roots, through the line of Shem! Jesus came from the tribe of Judah (Genesis 49), through King David (Mary & Joseph both from the line of King David)! Praise the Lord God. God said it, that settles it! Blessings!

  10. Bede, our only source for the Goddess Eostre, states that the festival of Easter was named after the ‘old observance’ of Eostre’s feasts during the month of Eosturmonath. He does not say that anything survived of these feasts except that name. Some scholars have suggested that Bede made her up, and academia is still divided on this point, although it remains unclear what his motive for doing so might have been.
    No, Eostre’s symbol wasn’t a hare. That was an unsupported guess made by the folklorist Jacob Grimm in 1835. Grimm was baffled by the Easter Hare tradition, finding it ‘unintelligible’, and guessed that ‘the hare was probably the sacred animal of Ostara’. Later writers misrepresented his guess as a statement of fact.
    No, votive inscriptions from the Rhine don’t refer to Eostre; they’re to the Matronae Austriahenae, who may well be linguistically related, however.
    No, eggs were not symbols of Eostre either. There are no known symbols of Eostre. Our sole source — Bede — doesn’t mention any.
    No, hot cross buns weren’t eaten by the pagan Saxons. That ludicrous claim comes from the long-outdated 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica

    The festival of Pascha was celebrated for centuries before the conversion of the Anglo-Saxons who named it ‘Easter’ in their own relatively small part of the world. (It’s still called Pascha, or a variant thereof, outside those areas.) So no, it wasn’t ‘originally pagan’ or about a Goddess of sex and fertility. Much to the disappointment of us English folk, the world does not revolve around what went on in England.

    1. Dear A

      Shalom, and love in Jesus.

      You wrote:

      The festival of Pascha was celebrated for centuries before the conversion of the Anglo-Saxons who named it ‘Easter’ in their own relatively small part of the world.

      My comment:

      I have written in my book “The sign of Josva” that the Anglo Saxons brought a false Messiah with them to the Celtic people in the Britons. Celtic Christianity was based on the Mesianic faith, and they upheld the Sabbath and the festivals of the Bible. They also baptiszed with full immersion. In 700 A.D, for the next 100 years, Celtic Christianity faced the missionaries sent from Rome. They converted Celtic kings, who started to persecute the believers. The Catholic missionaries conducted the same crimes, as Rome did during the inquistion in the Middle Ages, and later during the imperial age of European colonialism.

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