Easter, Passover

Erebos12345

Senior Member
Canadian English
What is/are the most common way(s) to say “Easter” and “Passover” in your language?

I know that many languages use similar words, if not the same word, given that these two holidays are closely related.

Amongst English-speakers, I must say that I have the impression that a lot of people are not aware of the relation between them (myself included in the past), and I think it’s partly because we call them two completely different things in English. Not that I’m an expert, but I found myself explaining the Cole’s notes version of the history of these holidays to a colleague yesterday.


Thanks
 
  • TheCrociato91

    Senior Member
    Italian - Northern Italy
    Hello.

    In Italian, people mostly speak of the Christian Easter, which is called "Pasqua".

    To refer to Passover, my impression is that most people simply say "Pasqua Ebraica", which literally translates to "Jewish Easter". I don't think many people are familiar with its specific terminology: Pèsach or Pesah. According to Wikipedia, only 0.7% of Italians are Jews.

    I might also add that most religious people should be aware of the relationship (which is made clear by the fact that we use the term "Pasqua" to designate both) and the differences between the two holidays. On the other hand, an average non-believer wouldn't probably know the differences between Easter and Passover. That's how I see things, at least.
     
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    apmoy70

    Senior Member
    Greek
    In Greek Easter is «Πάσχα» [ˈpas.xa] (neut.) < Koine Gr. «Πάσχα» Pắskʰă (idem) < Heb. פֶּסַח (Pesah̩).
    Passover is:
    (A) «πέρασμα» [ˈpe.ɾaz.ma] (neut.) < Byz. Gr. «πέρασμα» pérasma (neut.) < Classical aorist stem «περασ-» pĕrăs- of Classical denominative v. «περάω/περῶ» pĕrắō (uncontracted)/pĕrô (contracted) + Classical suffix «-μα» -mă, used to form neuter nouns from verbs, denoting action or the object of an action;
    (B) «Διάβαση» [ˈðʲa.va.si] (fem.) < Classical 3rd declension fem. noun «διάβασις» dĭắbasis (nom. sing.), «διαβάσεως» dĭăbắsĕōs (gen. sing.) < Classical prefix & preposition «διά» dĭắ + Classical 3rd declension deverbative fem. noun «βάσις» bắsis (nom. sing.), «βάσεως» bắsĕōs (gen. sing.) < Classical v. «βαίνω» baí̯nō.
    As you can see, neither A nor B is related to «Πάσχα».
    However, the word does resemble the Greek v. «πάσχω» [ˈpas.xɔ] --> to suffer < Classical v. «πάσχω» pắskʰō (no relation between פֶּסַח & πάσχω) that helped many ancient Christian writers make punning references to Christ's suffering.

    Edit: Just to wanted to add that the Jewish Passover is «Νομικόν Πάσχα» Νŏmikón Pắskʰă (in MoGr pronunciation: [nɔ.miˈkɔ(n) ˈpas.xa] (both neut.)) --> lit. Legal (of the Law i.e. Mosaic Law) Passover (from «νόμος» nómŏs (masc.)) --> law, custom).
     
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    Yendred

    Senior Member
    Français - France
    In French:
    Easter = Pâques
    Passover = Pessah
    (also sometimes called Pâque juive)
    So very close to Italian.

    I might also add that most religious people should be aware of the relationship
    And most rational people should be aware that these religious holidays are modeled on ancient pagan celebrations. Easter corresponds to spring equinox, and Christmas (for example) corresponds to winter solstice.
     
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    AnythingGoes

    Senior Member
    English - USA (Midwest/Appalachia)
    In French:
    Easter = Pâques
    Passover = Pessah
    (also sometimes called Pâque juive)
    Dictionaries say that Easter is les Pâques (masculine plural) and Passover is la Pâques (feminine singular) or le pessah. I can never keep these straight so I say la pâque juive. Now that I know that pessah is also used, I'll stick with the Hebrew loanword. :)
     

    Yendred

    Senior Member
    Français - France
    Dictionaries say that Easter is les Pâques (masculine plural) and Passover is la Pâques (feminine singular)
    Just "Pâques" with no article for Easter (or at a pinch "Les fêtes de Pâques"), and la Pâque (with no 's') for Passover.
    There's no real explanation why one is plural and the other is singular, since this spelling has changed a lot during history. It just seems to be an academic decision going back to the 18th century.

    Note that all these terms (French Pâques, Italian Pasqua, Hebrew Pessah, Greek Πάσχα) are of course cognates and they all refer to the notion of passage: Moses crossing the Red Sea for the Hebraic holiday, or the passage of the Christ from life to death (and vice-versa!) for Easter.
    Christians also call these events the Passion of the Christ, but although close to passage, Passion refers to the Latin patior = suffer.
     
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    AnythingGoes

    Senior Member
    English - USA (Midwest/Appalachia)
    Note that all these terms (French Pâques, Italian Pasqua, Hebrew Pessah, Greek Πάσχα) are of course cognates and they all refer to the notion of passage: Moses crossing the Red Sea for the Hebraic holiday, or the passage of the Christ from life to death (and vice-versa!) for Easter.
    The events that Passover celebrates occur before the Red Sea crossing. They culminate in the Angel of Death "passing over" the houses of the Jews when he's killing the firstborn sons of the Egyptians. (It's not a very nice story.) The Seder ends before Moses has reached the Red Sea.
     

    nimak

    Senior Member
    Macedonian
    Macedonian

    Easter - When we talk about the Christian Easter (both Orthodox and Catholic), we call it Велигден (Veligden) ['vɛligdɛn], which literally means "Great Day".

    Passover - When we talk about the Jewish holiday, we call it Пасха (Pasha) ['pas.xa]
     
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    AndrasBP

    Senior Member
    Hungarian
    In Hungarian, Easter is called Húsvét /'hu:ʃve:t/, which literally means "taking of meat", i.e. the end of fasting.
    For Passover, we use the Hebrew word Pészah/Pészach.
     
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    bibax

    Senior Member
    Czech (Prague)
    In Czech:

    1) Easter = Velikonoce (plur., lit. "Great-Nights", veliký 'great/big', noc 'night', cf. Macedonian Велигден [Veligden] = "Great Day")

    it is a calque from Greek μεγάλη ἡμέρα [megalē hēmerā] (Hemera 'Day' is a daughter of Nyx 'Night').

    2) Passover = correctly Pesach [ˈpɛsaχ ] (from Hebr. פֶּסַח < 'to skip over')

    however in the Czech translations of the Bible:

    židovské velikonoce ('Jewish "great-nights"' = Jewish Easter);
    svátek přesnic ('the feast of azymous bread', přesnice = přesný chléb 'azymous/unfermented bread');
    also Fáze (in the Bible kralická, 16th c.) from Hebr. Pesach (not from phasis/phase, but possibly contaminated);
     
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    OzzyM

    New Member
    Hebrew
    The events that Passover celebrates occur before the Red Sea crossing. They culminate in the Angel of Death "passing over" the houses of the Jews when he's killing the firstborn sons of the Egyptians.
    In the Bible it was God, not the Angel of Death.

    While "Pesah" means indeed "pass over", where God spared the Israelites and killed Egyptians, yet since ancient time Pesah is the celebration of slaves who got their freedom, and the most outstanding Jewish trait of eating mazza is to commemorate the haste of preparing bread, too fast to let it become bread.
     
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    apmoy70

    Senior Member
    Greek
    Also, «Λαμπρή» [lambrí] , though not as common as «Πάσχα».
    From the adj. «λαμπρός, -ρή, -ρό» [lamˈbrɔs] (masc.), [lamˈbri] (fem.), [lamˈbrɔ] (neut.) --> brilliant, shining, gleaming < Classical deverbative adj. «λαμπρός, -ρά, -ρόν» lămprós (masc.), lămprā́ (fem.), lămprón (neut.) --> bright, radiant, illustrious, joyous, splendid, brilliant < Classical v. «λάμπω» lắmpō --> to lighten, glow, illuminate (possibly from a nasalised variant of PIE *leh₂p- to glow, light cf Hitt. lāpp-/lapp- to glow, flash, Ltv. lāpa, torch, but for Beekes this etymology is problematic due to the nasalisation).
    In Mediaeval Gr. the feminine adj. was nominalised and stood alone (the fem. noun «ἡμέρα» ēméra, MoGr pron. [iˈme.ɾa] it modified, was omitted).
    My grandmother (b. 1906) used to call Easter Sunday, «Λαμπρή» [lamˈbri]. It's used very rarely nowadays, it's almost obsolete.
    From «Λαμπρή» the MoGr first names «Λάμπρος» [ˈlam.brɔs] (masc.) for males, and «Λαμπρινή» [lam.briˈni] (fem.) for females, derive.
     

    Ansku89

    Member
    Finnish
    In Finnish Christian Easter is pääsiäinen. It's also the word used about Passover in the Old Testament in Christian Bibles. I'm not completely sure if Jewish people use the same word themselves, but everyone else usually uses it in both contexts.

    I'm not an expert in languages but as far as I know, the word comes from the verb päästä which means things like getting into, out of or rid of something. I've heard several explanations about what this has to do with the holiday. Getting out of slavery in Egypt (Passover)? Getting out of the power of sin and death (Easter)? Getting out of the fasting of Lent (Easter)? I have no idea which one of these, if any, is the original one. But in any case, all of them provide excellent sermon material :)
     

    Erebos12345

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    Thanks for the responses.
    Easter is les Pâques (masculine plural) and Passover is la Pâques (feminine singular) or le pessah.
    Weird...I only usually come across this word in the greeting Joyeuses Pâques, so I don't think I've ever seen it used in the masculine. (I'm honestly quite surprised to learn this.) WRF has a few threads discussing this:
    FR: Pâques / Pâque - genre : masculin / féminin
    Pâques / la Pâque - bonne(s)/joyeuse(s) Pâques - genre, nombre et majuscule
     

    Sardokan1.0

    Senior Member
    Sardu / Italianu
    From Latin : Pascha -> to Sardinian : Pasca

    It's usually known as "Pasca de Abrile" (Easter of April), to distinguish it from "Pasca de Nadale" (Christmas / Easter of December; in Sardinian Nadale means both Christmas and December).
     

    nimak

    Senior Member
    Macedonian
    In Czech:

    1) Easter = Velikonoce (plur., lit. "Great-Nights", veliký 'great/big', noc 'night', cf. Macedonian Велигден [Veligden] = "Great Day")
    It seems in Slavic languages Easter is called:
    • "Great Day(s)" in Macedonian, Belarusian, Bulgarian, Ukrainian
    • "Great Night(s)" in Czech, Polish, Slovak, Slovenian
    • "Resurrection" in Bosnian, Croatian, Montenegrin, Serbian
    • "Paskha" in Russian
     

    AndrasBP

    Senior Member
    Hungarian
    It seems in Slavic languages Easter is called:
    • "Great Day(s)" in Macedonian, Belarusian, Bulgarian, Ukrainian
    • "Great Night(s)" in Czech, Polish, Slovak, Slovenian
    • "Resurrection" in Bosnian, Croatian, Montenegrin, Serbian
    • "Paskha" in Russian
    In Lithuanian, Easter is Velykos, a Slavic loan.
    In Latvian, it's a calque: Lieldienas, lit. "Great Days".
     
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    bibax

    Senior Member
    Czech (Prague)
    And the calque "Great Day" comes from John 19:31.

    ἦν γὰρ μεγάλη ἡ ἡμέρα ἐκείνου τοῦ σαββάτου
    ēn gar megalē hē hēmera ekeinou tou sabbatou
    erat enim magnus dies ille sabbati
    for that sabbath was a great day
    e quel giorno del sabato era un gran giorno
    ибо та суббота была день великий (Russian)
    jo tā bija lielā sabata diena (Latvian)
    etc.
     

    apmoy70

    Senior Member
    Greek
    ...
    Edit: Just to wanted to add that the Jewish Passover is «Νομικόν Πάσχα» Νŏmikón Pắskʰă (in MoGr pronunciation: [nɔ.miˈkɔ(n) ˈpas.xa] (both neut.)) --> lit. Legal (of the Law i.e. Mosaic Law) Passover (from «νόμος» nómŏs (masc.)) --> law, custom).
    Apologies for quoting myself, but sometimes in the Hellenistic literature, instead of «Νομικόν Πάσχα» we encounter the phrase «Νομικόν Φάσκα» Nŏmikón Pʰắskă (in MoGr pron. [nɔ.miˈkɔ(n) ˈfas.ka] (both neut.)); the word «Φάσκα» for the Jewish Passover according to scholars is either a dialectal variant, or the way Alexandrian Jews pronounced the Greek word «Πάσχα»; it's found in Flavius Josephus' "Antiquities of the Jews":
    «...τῆς τῶν ἀζύμων ἑορτῆς θύσαντες τήν λεγομένην Φάσκα» - "...observing the festival of unleavened bread, which is called Phaska" (infact it's feminine in this passage «ἡ (ἑορτἠ) Φάσκα»).
     
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