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4 Different names for Easter Sunday and their meaning


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Philip Kosloski - published on 04/17/22

There are a few different names for Easter Sunday that are used by Catholics to emphasize the pinnacle of feasts in the liturgical year.

Many Catholics may not be aware that the Church has a few different names for Easter Sunday that bring out various aspects of this special feast.

1Easter Sunday

The first and most obvious name is “Easter Sunday,” which has its own Christian symbolism.

For example, some historians recognize a connection with the German word Osternwhich connects it to the rising of the sun. According to Nick Sayers, “The English word Easter is of German/Saxon origin … The German equivalent is Oster. Oster (Ostern being the modern day equivalent) is related to Ost which means the rising of the sun, or simply in English, east.”

Jesus’ resurrection is frequently tied to the rising of the sun as his body was not found in the tomb when some of his disciples went there at dawn.

2Great and Holy Pascha

For Eastern Catholics (and Orthodox Christians), Easter Sunday is called the, “Great and Holy Pascha.”

This is connected to the Aramaic form of the Hebrew pesach, meaning, “passover.”

Pascha connects the Christian celebration to the Jewish passover that was being celebrated during Jesus’ passion, death and resurrection.

3Sunday of the Resurrection

The official Latin word for Easter Sunday in the Roman Rite is, Dominica Resurrectionis, meaning “Sunday of the Resurrection.”

This name brings to the forefront the primary reason for this feast, celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

4Feast of Feasts

Another name that is used for this day is the “Feast of feasts” or the “Solemnity of solemnities.” Both have a similar definition of being the pinnacle of feasts of the entire liturgical year.

Similar to the “Holy of holies,” Easter Sunday is the holiest of days in the Christian year and the summit of the entire Christian religion.

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