Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States
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Where did the term "Easter" come from, and what does it mean? Does the name ‘Easter Bunny' originate from it?

The word "Easter" actually comes from "EASTRE", the Anglo-Saxon name of a Teutonic goddess of spring and fertility. Her festival was celebrated on the day of spring equinox and to her was dedicated a month corresponding to our April. The rabbit was sacred also to the Germanic goddess 'Eastre', the goddess of fertility and springtime. Rabbits are an extremely appropriate symbol of springtime, because of their extreme fertility.

Christian missionaries, spreading out among the Teutonic tribes north of Rome, encountered numerous heathen religious observances. Whenever possible, the missionaries did not interfere very much with the native traditions and customs. Rather, quietly, they attempted to transform pagan practices into ceremonies that harmonized with Christian doctrine. There was a very practical reason for this.
Converts publicly partaking in a Christian ceremony and on a day when no one else was celebrating were easy targets for persecution. But if a Christian rite was staged on the same day as a long-observed heathen one, and if the two modes of worship were not clearly different, then the new converts might live to make other converts.

The Christian missionaries had observed that the centuries-old festival to Eastre, commemorated at the start of spring, coincided with the time of their celebration of Christ's Resurrection.  Thus the Resurrection was listed under the protective rubric Eastre (later spelled Easter), saving the lives of countless Christians.

The word "Easter" is found only once in the King James Version Bible (Act 12:4). The word in the Greek language is actually "Passover", and so translated elsewhere in the KJV.

In the Coptic Orthodox Church the correct terminology is "The Feast of the Holy Resurrection," not Easter.
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