Over 25 years ago, teaching Adult ESL (“English as a Second Language”) in New York City, I taught students from Puerto Rico, Haiti, The Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru, Brazil, Taiwan, Afghanistan, Iran, Poland, The Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Burma, India — and those are just the ones I remember! As different holidays came around in the yearly cycle, we’d talk about them. I noticed that in some cases, when we’d discuss “Easter,” the names my students had for the holiday (“Pâques,” for example) were clearly derived from the Hebrew word/name “Pesach” — usually presented in English as “Passover.”

     For a very good article I found online about the possible meanings of the word “pesach” itself, see:

     I thought it would be interesting to post some of these, plus the personal names that are derived from “Pesach” as well. I’m sure the list isn’t exhaustive. Have any to add?

“…The Latin and Greek word for ‘Easter’ is Pascha, which is simply a form of [the] Hebrew word for ‘Passover’ — ‘Pesach‘…” [1] It also signifies the lamb that was killed and whose blood was smeared on the Israelites’ doorposts to protect them from the final plague: the death of the firstborn (Ex. 12:11).

Names for the “Easter” holiday derived from “Pesach”:

Latin – Pascha or Festa Paschalia
Greek – Paskha
Arabic – Fis’ch (note: in Arabic and Hebrew, “P” and “F” are alternate forms of the  same consonant)
Bulgarian – Paskha
Danish – Paaske
Dutch – Pasen
Finnish – Pääsiäinen
French – Pâques
Indonesian – Paskah
Irish – Cáisc  [2]
Italian – Pasqua
Lower Rhine German – Paisken
Norwegian – Påske
Portuguese – Páscoa
Romanian – Pasti
Russian – Paskha
Scottish Gaelic – Càisg [2]
Spanish – Pascua
Swedish – Påsk
Welsh – Pasg    [3]

Personal names derived directly or indirectly from “Pesach”:

PASCHALIS: Late Latin name derived from the word Pascha, from [the] Hebrew Pesach (“Passover”), hence “Passover; Easter.”  (We probably have the Romans to thank for the spread of this Hebrew name into other lands and languages.)

PACE: English surname transferred to forename use, derived from the French personal name Pascal, meaning “Passover; Easter.” (think: Pace University)
PACEY: Pet form of English Pace, meaning “Passover; Easter.”
PASCAL: French name derived from Latin Paschalis/Hebrew Pesach, meaning “Passover; Easter.” This name was popular with early Christians, mainly given to sons born at Easter time.
PASCHAL: Variant spelling of French Pascal, meaning “Passover; Easter.”
PASCO: Cornish form of French Pascal, meaning “Passover; Easter.”
PASCOAL: Portuguese form of Latin Paschalis, meaning “Passover; Easter.”
PASCUAL: Spanish form of Latin Paschalis, meaning “Passover; Easter.”
PASQUALE: Italian form of Latin Paschalis, meaning “Passover; Easter.”
PASQUALINO: Pet form of Italian Pasquale, meaning “Passover; Easter.”   [4]

PESACH” is itself a masculine name among Ashkenazi Jews (e.g. google “rabbi pesach”). I haven’t heard it used in a feminine form.


[1] Watts, A.W.; EasterIt’s Story and Meaning; p. 36; cited on http://av1611.com/kjbp/articles/moorman-easter.html
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Easter: In all modern Celtic languages the term for Easter is derived from Latin. In Brythonic languages this has yielded Welsh Pasg, Cornish and Breton Pask. In Goidelic languages the word was borrowed before these languages had re-developed the /p/ sound and as a result the initial /p/ was replaced with /k/. This yielded Irish Cáisc, Gaelic Càisg and Manx Caisht. These terms are normally used with the definite article in Goidelic languages, causing lenition in all cases: An Cháisc, A’ Chàisg and Y Chaisht.
[3] http://www.infostarbase.com/holidays/easter/easter1.php
[4] http://www.20000-names.com/male_p_names_html
[* for more examples, google “Easter Pesach” or “Happy Easter” or click on http://www.omniglot.com/language/phrases/easter.htm (some Christian phraseology included); see also http://www.omniglot.com/language/phrases/easter.htm]