Ostara's Home Page

The Germanic Goddess of Springtime

Variant spellings: Eostra, Eostrae, Eostre, Eástre, Austra.

Edited by D. L. Ashliman. Copyright 1996.
Return to
According to the historian Bede the Venerable (673?-735), writing in chapter 13 of his De temporum ratione, the heathen Anglo-Saxons called the third and fourth months "Rhedmonath" and "Esturmonath" after their goddesses Rheda and Eostra respectively.

Rheda, except for the brief citation above, has been forgotten.

Eostra (Ostara) has fared somewhat better, although there is little direct evidence of her and her followers.

The following views, advanced by Jacob Grimm in his Deutsche Mythologie (1835), are generally held by Germanic scholars:

The Name for "Easter" in selected European Languages

The English and German words for "Easter" derive from the name "Ostara," the Germanic Goddess of Springtime.

All other European words for "Easter" derive from the Hebrew word "pasah," to pass over, thus reflecting the Christian holiday's Biblical connection with the Jewish Passover.

Danish and NorwegianPåske

Revised November 6, 1996.