Easter and the Germanic Pagan Goddess Ostara


An easter a picture of the Babylonic Goddess of love, war and sex Ishtar to be the namegiving goddess of easter went viral, but most scholars believe that the word Easter derives from the Germanic Goddess Ostara. German and English use words derived from her name, Easter and Ostern. Whereas in Romanic languages the name for easter derives from the Latin word Pascha, from the Hebrew Pesach, Passover.

The idea of rebirth and resurrection has been part of spring and everything blooming again after the cold winter in many pagan rites. In Jacob Grimm’s Deutsche Mythologie, which he wrote after journeying across Germany and recording its oral mythological traditions, he describes the idea of resurrection was part and parcel of celebrating the goddess Ostara:

“Ostara, Eástre seems therefore to have been the divinity of the radiant dawn, of upspringing light, a spectacle that brings joy and blessing, whose meaning could be easily adapted by the resurrection-day of the christian’s God. Bonfires were lighted at Easter and according to popular belief of long standing, the moment the sun rises on Easter Sunday morning, he gives three joyful leaps, he dances for joy … Water drawn on the Easter morning is, like that at Christmas, holy and healing … here also heathen notions seems to have grafted themselves on great christian festivals. Maidens clothed in white, who at Easter, at the season of returning spring, show themselves in clefts of the rock and on mountains, are suggestive of the ancient goddess.”