In both Greek and Latin, the 2nd-century Christian celebration was called Pascha, derived, through Aramaic, from the Hebrew term Pesach (פֶּסַח), known in English as Passover, the Jewish festival commemorating the story of the Exodus. Paul writes from Ephesus that “Christ our Pascha has been sacrificed for us,” although the Ephesian Christians were not the first to hear that Exodus 12 spoke about the death of Jesus. In most of the non-English speaking world, the feast today is known by the name Pascha and words derived from it.
The modern English term Easter, cognate with modern German Ostern, developed from the Old English word Ēastre or Ēostre.[nb 3] This is generally held to have originally referred to the name of an Anglo-Saxon goddess, Ēostre, a form of the widely attested Indo-European dawn goddess.[nb 4] The evidence for the Anglo-Saxon goddess, however, has not been universally accepted, and some have proposed that Eostre may have meant “the month of opening” or that the name Easter may have arisen from the designation of Easter Week in Latin as in albis.