For those enquiring about the word "Easter," I am taking the liberty of sending this posting by Caedmon Parsons which has appeared on many Orthodox lists.
There does not seem to be *any* English form of the word "Pascha"; Orthodox England never called the feast anything but Easter.
There is absolutely no evidence for a Germanic goddess *Eostre with a name in any way resembling the word "Easter". Rather than the term being derived from a goddess, the supposed goddess is derived from the term. She was postulated by certain 19th century Germanic scholars in an attempt to explain the etymology of the word. These same scholars (foremost among them the Grimm brothers, famous for their folk-tale collections and less well-known as the discoverers of the "Indo-European" linguistic family) had a very definite nationalist/ethnic agenda in which they were trying to rediscover the "real" roots of German culture. Thus the folk-tale collection's avowed purpose was to search for "survivals" of pre-Christian Germanic religion and culture.
The later connection of this invented figure to Astarte was sheer fundamentalist propaganda based on a coincidental similarity in sound. Having dismissed Nativity/Christmas because it's timing coincides with a number of pagan solar festivals, those fundamentalist groups which criticize all celebration of "holy days" thereby sought to discredit "Easter" whose general timing is well laid out in the Bible. If there was a connection, it would be the only case of a Sumerian/Canaanite word coming into the Germanic languages without first passing through Hebrew and/or Greek into Latin and then into Germanic via the medium of Christianity.
There is some by no means conclusive evidence of a festival or holy day connected to the spring solstice. However, every recorded instance of the word's usage has clear Christian connotations (i.e., if it ever was a pagan festival, it had effectively disappeared by the time people wrote using the term "Easter"). As to why this word is used in English and German: It is used in German for the simple reason that the pagans of modern-day Germany were missionized by Anglo-Saxon Christians such as St. Willibrord or the two St. Hewalds. The Germans thus got "Easter" the same way the Russians got "Pascha. -from those who missionised them
In England itself, this is the type of theoretical issue Anglo-Saxonists enjoy arguing. There appears to have been a very strong cultural bias among the Anglo-Saxons against other languages. While their Latin
missionaries and then their own churchmen obviously knew and used Latin, there was remarkably little borrowing from Latin into English at this time. In almost every instance, the English Church took existing English words to express ecclesiastical terms (thus "sanctus" was translated by "haelig" [holy, healthy, whole] and Old English uses haelige John not St. John, "haeliged" [hallowed] rather than sanctified, etc) rather than simply borrowing the Latin (the modern preponderance of Latin loan words for ecclesiastical terms is a product of the post 1066 Norman invasion) In addition to Latin books, Old English had the most active vernacular literature (primarily Christian) of any Western area prior to the millenium. There is an extant translation of the gospel of John which is the oldest translation of the Bible into a western vernacular with the exception of Bishop Wulfilas Arian translations into Gothic (itself another Germanic language).
IOW, the presence of the word "Easter" is actually a product of the vibrant "Orthodoxy" of the Anglo-Saxon Church which unlike later periods did not suppress the resident culture in favor of an all-embracing Latinism but rather transformed (in accord with the guidelines given to St. Augustine of Canterbury by St. Gregory the Great) the entire language and culture. Although I myself generally use "Pascha" because it is the common usage among Orthodox now, I find attempts to dismiss as "pagan" a genuinely true survival of English Orthodoxy very problematic.
The roots of the word conveyed an image of both "rising" and "dawning."
Word-list (from J.R. Clarke-Hall's _A Concise Anglo-Saxon Dictionary_)
*east* I. adj. east, easterly. II. adv. eastwards, in an easterly
direction, in or from the east*eastan* from the east,
easterly*eastanwind* east wind *eastcyning* eastern king*eastdael*
eastern quarter, the East*easte* the East
*eastende* east-end, east quarter*Eastengle* the East Anglians: East
*Easteraefen* Easter-eve*Easterdaeg* Easter-day, Easter Sunday
*Easterfaestan* Easter-fast, Lent*Easterfeorm* feast of Easter
*Easterfreolsdaeg* the feast day of Passover
*Eastergewuna* Easter custom (appears only in the 9th century sermons of
Aelfric where he is reffering to Christian Easter practices)
*Easterlic* belonging to Easter, Paschal*Eastermonath* Easter-month,
*Easterne* east, eastern, oriental*Easterniht* Easter-night
*Eastersunnandaeg* Easter Sunday*Eastersymble* Passover (lit. Easter
*Eastertid* Eastertide, Paschal season*Easterthenung* Passover
*Easterwucu* Easter Week
and then we return to compounds of "east-" [eastern x] except for
*Eastre* Easter, Passover, (possibly) Spring.
Furthermore, there does not seem to be *any* English form of the word "Pascha"; Orthodox England never called the feast anything but Easter.
And while I find the etymological connection of Easter and astiehen (the infinitive of the verb the revived post referred to) doubtful, the *pun* of Eastre, astah is very obvious in Anglo-Saxon.