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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
Hester Folklore: Happy Hocktide (11) RE: Folklore: Happy Hocktide 29 Apr 03


Hi, Bob:

Thanks for your festive spring wishes!

Astute observation on the likely meaning of my pseudonym. "Hester" literally means "a star" (and I'm interested in stargazing and star lore), but I was really making a reference to the goddess "Hestia", classical guardian of the hearth, when I chose the moniker.

The relationship between the holiday name "Easter" and an eponymous pagan goddess is complicated, however. This idea can only be traced back to the Venerable Bede. He speculated that the Anglo-Saxon month of 'Easter' was likely named for a goddess of spring. But, as historian Ronald Hutton points out in _Stations of the Sun_, there is no independent evidence for such a deity in Germanic myth or folklore. Etymologically, the name is linked to dawn goddesses from across the Indo-European speaking world (although none of these is explicitly linked to spring). Indeed, the Old English month name may simply refer to a season of "opening". Then again, it could refer to a "lost" Anglo-Saxon goddess of dawn, and by metaphorical extension, spring.

I'm afraid I'm just on my way out of Mudcat, so I'll PM you with my e-mail in case you'd like to discuss these ideas further.

Cheers, Hester


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