Thursday, April 21, 2011
Every year at Easter we dye some Easter eggs and set up decorations which probably include little yellow chicks or bunnies and maybe lambs. Some of us buy new clothes to wear on Easter Sunday. Perhaps we serve hot cross buns.
All traditional and lots of fun, but do you know why we do those things? I did a little research on common Easter symbols, and this is what I found out.
Easter eggs and baby chicks symbolize new life or rebirth. In Medieval Europe eggs were forbidden during Lent, so people either pickled or hard boiled them. When Easter Sunday came around they ate the eggs. Going back even further, we believe that the ancient Romans, Persians, and Egyptians also used eggs in spring festivals. Early Christians used red eggs to symbolize the resurrection of Christ and considered the egg a symbol of the rock tomb out of Christ emerged when he rose again. Today, we dye eggs all colors and hide them for children to find. And don’t forget the annual Easter Egg roll on the White House lawn.
Bunnies symbolized abundant new life in ancient times and became symbols of fertility. The inclusion of hares or rabbits into Christian celebrations probably came from Germany. The Germans told stories about Easter Hares who laid eggs for children to find. They also baked cakes for Easter in the shape of hares and probably made chocolate bunnies and cakes.
The white blossoms on Easter Lilies symbolize the purity of Jesus. They also symbolize new life and the resurrection of Christ. Because they are shaped like trumpets they are symbols of immortality. (See 1 Corinthians 15:52.)
The lamb represents Jesus who was called The Lamb of God in the Bible.
The Cross is a symbol of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection. Crucifixion was a common way to execute criminals during ancient times. The person was bound and nailed to a cross where they died miserably. To Christians the cross symbolizes Jesus’ victory over sin and death. That’s why the cross has become the major symbol of Christianity.