1. abuspud New Member

    English - American
    I am wondering if anyone can provide the derivation or origin of the term pascua/pascuas?

    Background: My wife is from Central America and started laughing when she saw a local advertising supplement that translated "Happy Easter" using the term "Pascua," because to her that means "Christmas." After digging around in dictionaries, online forums, and friends from other parts of the Spanish-speaking world, we found that the word is used in both contexts, as well as in a couple of colloquial phrases with no apparent connection to either Christmas or Easter
    (e.g. "de pascuas a ramos").

    I'm guessing that pascua has its origins in a word meaning 'month' or 'festival' or some such, but none of the dictionaries I've consulted have offered the derivation.
  2. borgonyon

    borgonyon Senior Member

    Shreveport, Louisiana
    Mexican Spanish
    Welcome to the forum, abuspud.

    There are several threads in the forum with the same topic. You may check them all by clicking here.
  3. abuspud New Member

    English - American
    Thanks. After reading the 19 threads noted as addressing the topic, I see that many address the fact that pascua is used in both contexts, and many addrress how, when, and by whom it is used in the various contexts, but I could only find one that addressed the derivation (caveat: I speak practically no Spanish, so I may have missed it in the many Spanish-language threads). Apparently, the term comes to us from Hebrew through Greek and Latin and means 'passover.' If I understood correctly, the term came to be used for Easter because death had metaphorically passed over the resurrected Christ.

    If there is any discussion of how and why the term came to be used for Christmas, I couldn't understand it.
  4. borgonyon

    borgonyon Senior Member

    Shreveport, Louisiana
    Mexican Spanish
    I'm with you. I have no idea. I had never heard of pascua [or pascuas] used for Christmas until I met who would become my wife. She is Cuban. Through her and her family I found out about Christmas being called pascua or pascuas, depending on their mood. They have always used terms to mean the same thing. In Mexico we had always just called it Christmas [navidad].
  5. Fmorondo Senior Member

    Pamplona, Spain
    In Spain "Pascua" means usually, and in this order:

    1.: Easter: "Pascua de Resurrección"
    2.: Passover: "Pascua [judía]"
    3.: Christmas: Usually, "Pascuas", as in "Felices Pascuas", for the whole Christmas period.

    The RAE Dictionary also says that Epiphany is "Pascua" (and, in fact, January 6th, the Spanish Armed Forces celebrate the "Pascua Militar", as the formal beggining of the year); and also you can hear (although it's not very usual) Pascua de Pentecostés, for "Pentecost").
  6. Aviador

    Aviador Senior Member

    Santiago de Chile (a veces)
    Castellano de Chile
    En Chile, donde la comunidad judía es muy pequeña, la pascua judía es desconocida por la mayoría. Sin embargo, entre los judíos de aquí normalmente la he oído llamar Pésaj, no pascua.
    Sin embargo, sí es normal aquí el término pascua (siempre en singular) en referencia a la de resurrección y a la de navidad.
  7. Oldy Nuts

    Oldy Nuts Senior Member

    Santiago, Chile
    Spanish - Chile
    You can find the origin of the name "pascua" in here:


    Curiously, the article relates the word Pascua only with Easter and with the Jewish celebration, not with Christmas, ignoring this very wide use of the word in Spanish speaking countries. And no, I don't know, and haven't found, how it is that we came to use the name Pascua for Christmas...
  8. Adenzeno New Member

    One of the definitions of Pascuas I found was any religious(Christian in this case) holiday lasting 3 days or more
  9. Alec Haskins Senior Member

    Argentina Spanish-English
    Some Spanish speaking countries use the term "Pascua" both for Easter and Christmas, but others separate these two celebrations and use Navidad for Christmas and Pascua for Easter.

    It can get funny, in Chile they call Santa Claus "el viejito pascuero", which proves to show how deep this use has become!

  10. Aviador

    Aviador Senior Member

    Santiago de Chile (a veces)
    Castellano de Chile
    Yes, it is funny indeed; even for a Chilean native like me. But I certainly prefer viejo or viejito pascuero to the affected santa or any other foreign name that the advertising of big department stores or sopping centers is trying to impose.
  11. UZIKATKILLKILL Senior Member

    Buenos Aires
    Castellano, Argentina
    Came to ¨pastos = grass y pastores (men with take care of sheeps)
  12. macame

    macame Senior Member

    Half a mile to heaven
    Spanish & Galician

    En principio, su significado se corresponde con Easter:

    Cuando se refiere a la Navidad se usa en plural, Pascuas:

    De Pascuas a Ramos en realidad sí está relacionado con ambas fiestas. En este caso Ramos se refiere al Domingo de Ramos (domingo anterior al Domingo de Resurrección).
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2012
  13. Monickv76

    Monickv76 Senior Member

    Spanish, Costa Rica
    I am also from Central America, but I would not laugh at the sign because it reads correctly. Like macame's explanation, in Costa Rica its main meaning is for Easter, but is also as a synonym for navidad.
  14. capitas

    capitas Senior Member

    Castellón, Spain
    I'm one of those oldish spaniards who still say " Felices Pascuas" to wish somone Merry Christmas.
    But I must admit that that usage and the formal "Pascua de Navidad" are the two only cases of Pascua meaning Christmas. I refer to Easter as Pascua.
    Take a look to the film "Que bello es vivir" (It's a wonderful life): George Bayley when running back home at the end of the film is shouting to everybody/everything "Felices Pascuas".
    In my family it was usual to say "Felices Pascuas" at Chirstmas not so many years ago, maybe nowadays I'm the only one...
    Felices Pascuas a todos!!!
  15. Seeker of Light

    Seeker of Light Member

    English - USA
  16. Amapolas

    Amapolas Senior Member

    Buenos Aires
    Castellano rioplatense
    De Pascuas a Ramos quiere decir "todo el año", ya que significa desde el Domingo de Pascuas hasta el próximo Domigno de Ramos, que será en aproximadamente un año. Es similar a decir "de San Esteban (=Boxing Day) a Navidades".
  17. LanguageUser1234 Banned

    English U.S.
    ¿Y la "Pascua Militar" que se observa todos los años en España?
  18. chileno

    chileno Senior Member

    Las Vegas, Nv. USA
    Castellano - Chile
    ¡Felices Pascuas a todos! :)

    A todo esto, me parece que en Chile se denominaba a Easter como "La Pascua de los negros" y también como "Pascua de Pentecostés". ¿Alguien sabe más de esto?
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 19, 2015
  19. Amapolas

    Amapolas Senior Member

    Buenos Aires
    Castellano rioplatense
    Yo creería que la Pascua de Pentecostés es lo mismo que Pentecostés.
    Y ahora en lugar de pan dulce comen pan de pascuas ¿verdad?
  20. chileno

    chileno Senior Member

    Las Vegas, Nv. USA
    Castellano - Chile
    Sí. Ayer hice uno. :)

    Me imagino que sí, aunque tenía entendido que era en abril más o menos para lo que es el Passover.
  21. Osito de Ana New Member

    I believe they take like English which calls it pass over . Pas or Paso means pass on latin Spanish y Italian . Qua means here in Italian. So i beleive it means pass here . As in pass over. I am guessing from my knowledge of italain and Spanish and Latin . I am not a scholar . But this makes sense . Latin is the mother of romance languages .and pasqua comes originates on latin word . My fingers are too big for small phone I don't spell great .apologize . My wife is from central America and my first language was Italian . I speak better English and consider myself a mut . I speak Italian Spanish y englsih. I speak and spell bad in all three .without discrimination

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