Old English Easterdæg, from Eastre (Northumbrian Eostre), from Proto-Germanic *austron-, "dawn," also the name of a goddess of fertility and spring, perhaps originally of sunrise, whose feast was celebrated at the spring equinox, from *aust- "east, toward the sunrise" (compare east), from PIE root *aus- (1) "to shine," especially of the dawn.
Bede says Anglo-Saxon Christians adopted her name and many of the celebratory practices for their Mass of Christ's resurrection. Almost all neighboring languages use a variant of Latin Pascha to name this holiday (see paschal).
Easter egg is attested by 1825, earlier pace egg (1610s). Easter bunny is attested by 1904 in children's lessons; Easter rabbit is by 1888; the paganish customs of Easter seem to have grown popular c. 1900; before that they were limited to German immigrants.
If the children have no garden, they make nests in the wood-shed, barn, or house. They gather colored flowers for the rabbit to eat, that it may lay colored eggs. If there be a garden, the eggs are hidden singly in the green grass, box-wood, or elsewhere. On Easter Sunday morning they whistle for the rabbit, and the children imagine that they see him jump the fence. After church, on Easter Sunday morning, they hunt the eggs, and in the afternoon the boys go out in the meadows and crack eggs or play with them like marbles. Or sometimes children are invited to a neighbor's to hunt eggs. [Phebe Earle Gibbons, "Pennsylvania Dutch," Philadelphia 1882]
"of or pertaining to Passover or Easter," early 15c., from Old French paschal (12c.) and directly from Late Latin paschalis, from pascha "Passover, Easter," from Greek pascha "Passover," from Aramaic (Semitic) pasha "pass over," corresponding to Hebrew pesah, from pasah "he passed over" (see Passover). Pasche was an early Middle English term for "Easter" (see Easter), and the older Dutch form of the word, Paas, was retained in New York.
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit usah "dawn;" Greek ēōs "dawn;" Latin Aurora "goddess of dawn," auster "south wind;" Lithuanian aušra "dawn;" Old English east "east."
sometimes nor'easter, "gale or wind blowing from the northeast," 1794, from northeast.
Perhaps based on Apru, an Etruscan borrowing of Greek Aphrodite. Or perhaps *ap(e)rilis "the following, the next," from its place as the second month of the old Roman calendar, from Proto-Italic *ap(e)ro-, from PIE *apo- "away, off" (see apo-; compare Sanskrit aparah "second," Gothic afar "after"). Old folk etymology connected it with Latin aperire "to open."
In English in Latin form from mid-12c.; it replaced Old English Eastermonað, which was named for a fertility goddess (see Easter). Re-spelled in Middle English on Latin model (apprile, first attested late 14c.).
"Easter," also "Passover," early 12c., Pasche, Paske; see paschal. Now archaic. Pasch-egg "Easter egg" is from 1570s.