Second April Blog

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ostre or Ostara (Old English: Ēastre, Northumbrian dialect Ēostre; Old High German: *Ôstara) is a Germanic divinity who, by way of the Germanic month bearing her name (Northumbrian: Ēosturmōnaþ; West Saxon: Ēastermōnaþ; Old High German: Ôstarmânoth), is the namesake of the festival of Easter. Ēostre is attested solely by Bede in his 8th-century work The Reckoning of Time, where Bede states that during Ēosturmōnaþ (the equivalent of April), pagan Anglo-Saxons had held feasts in Eostre’s honor, but that this tradition had died out by his time, replaced by the Christian Paschal month, a celebration of the resurrection of Jesus.

By way of linguistic reconstruction, the matter of a goddess called *Austrō in the Proto-Germanic language has been examined in detail since the foundation of Germanic philology in the 19th century by scholar Jacob Grimm and others. As the Germanic languages descend from Proto-Indo-European (PIE), linguists have traced the name to a Proto-Indo-European goddess of the dawn *H₂ewsṓs (→ *Ausṓs), from which descends the Common Germanic divinity from whom Ēostre and Ostara are held to descend. Scholars have linked the goddess’ name to a variety of Germanic personal names, a series of location names in England, over 150 2nd century BCE matronae Austriahenae – inscriptions discovered in Germany, and have debated whether or not Eostre is an invention of Bede’s. Theories connecting Ēostre with records of Germanic Easter customs, including hares and eggs, have been proposed.

Ēostre and Ostara are sometimes referenced in modern popular culture and are venerated in some forms of Germanic neopaganism.

HAPPY EASTER Everyone.

Evelyn

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