April 26, 2008

Pascha or Easter

On twitter, I'm tracking both "Easter" and "Pascha", and this morning I tweeted that I'm seeing more people refer to "Easter" than "Pascha". Someone pointed out that in her parish, the cradle Orthodox said Easter, and adult converts said Pascha, and that got me thinking...

First, maybe a little theology lesson. What the Orthodox call the Dormition of the Theotokos, Roman Catholics (and others?) call Assumption. The difference is that they believe that she was lifted up to Heaven (Assumed to Heaven) while still alive, but Orthodox believe that she died (Dormition). It is an important distinction, theologically. They believe the heresy of original sin, which required the immaculate conception (of Mary), which kept her from dying. So, in their theology, sh e couldn't die, and must have been brought to Heaven while still alive. Orthodox don't believe in original sin. We know that Christ inherited the entirety of our fallen nature. After all, if Mary couldn't have died, and He got His human nature from her, what does that say about the Passion and Resurrection?

The upshot is that there is a big difference between "Assumption" and "Dormition".

Anyway, many years ago, back in California, I saw an Orthodox church named for the "Assumption of the Theotokos", which struck me as odd. Someone explained that when the Russians came to America, they looked at the Roman Catholic names for feasts, and assumed they were the English translation of the names for the feasts (in other words, they thought that if you looked up the Russian word for "Dormition" in a Russian to English dictionary, you would find "Assumption" -- a false assumption if you ask me :).

Now, as for Pascha and Easter. Most languages on earth have, as their word for the feast celebrating our Saviour's Resurrection, some variation of the word "Passover". I could be wrong, but I think only English and German (and possibly some other German-derived languages) have "Easter" as the name of the feast. The word "Easter" comes from a Germanic pagan celebration (that, not coincidentally, includes a pagan deity that takes the form of an egg-laying rabbit).

The fact is, what we celebrate as Orthodox is the Passover. Not the same as the Jewish Passover, but there are parallels. The Jewish Passover was a prefiguring of our Passover. My priest even makes a point to call it Passover (using that as an English translation of Pascha). I'm trying to remember the parallels between ours and the Jewish Passover. I think some are that, when we have the Blood of the Lamb (Christ) on our lips (the door to our soul), that death will pass over us. There are also parallels of the week. The Passover seder was Friday night, so Christ died at the same time as (and mystically was) the sacrificial lamb.

The other reason why I like "Pascha" over "Easter" is it provides a separation of the feasts. Whereas the secular will celebrate Easter with anthropomorphic rabbits and the like, we celebrate Pascha with the Resurrection of our Lord, God, and Saviour Jesus Christ from the dead, trampling down death by death, and on those in the tombs bestowing life!

Posted by mlv at 01:21 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 16, 2007

"Boy Howdy" sighting

One of my favorite commercials of all times was a Tivo commercial with Joe Montana and Ronny Lott of the 49ers doing a mock-advertisement for a "masculine itch" product. One of the phrases I like from that is, "boy, howdy". I'm trying to remember the script, but it's what what Ronnie says in response to Joe's painful description of masculine itch.

(Actually, it's a big reason why I own a tivo now)

I don't hear it very often (except, occasionally from my own lips, but that doesn't count), until today, when I saw this Garfield cartoon:

Panel1; Spider: I'm cold.  Panel2, Garfield: A nice hot cup of coffee should warm you up (slams down a cup of coffee on spider, WHAM!).  Panel3, Spider: Boy howdy, he wasn't kidding

Well, having said that, I went on google and tried to confirm that the only sightings of "boy, howdy" were those two places. I was wrong. Apparently, "boy, howdy" is enjoying a resurgence. My initial Boy howdy google search told me there's a country band by that name. According to Wikipedia:

Boy Howdy was an American country music band that scored a couple of hits on the country charts in the mid-1990's. Their music was reminiscent of bands such as The Eagles and Creedence Clearwater Revival. They were also known for their classic rock covers.

(Actually, they don't sound that bad, I might like them)

Anyway, I then tried adding "lott" to my Google search (so I'd just find entries mentioning Ronnie Lott), and that's when I learned that "boy howdy" had arrived. I saw more hits mentioning senator Trent Lott than Ronnie Lott.

I like "boy howdy" because it just sounds western. It's the kind of thing you could imagine hearing some cowboys saying:

Sure was cold this morning when we broke camp!

Boy howdy!

And if you're confused as to the meaning or usage, a good rule of thumb is, you can always use it in place of "And how!"

Update: I found the video. It's been posted on YouTube

(I would embed it, but the embedding code makes my blog look ugly. Don't worry, just a click away).

Michael

UPDATED: Fixed YouTube link

Posted by mlv at 09:10 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack