Decorating for the Artistic Soul

Archive for April 7th, 2009

Here’s a popular post we had last year about Easter symbols, what they mean and where they come from. In light of the upcoming holiday, we thought we’d repost this one.

Easter is the holiday that celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ and dates all the way back to the very beginning of Christianity. Easter represent new life and the rebirth of Christ which took place the third day after he was crucified. There are several symbols that are associated with Easter but why are these particular symbols used for this holiday?

The main traditional symbols associated with Easter are rabbits and eggs. Children look forward to painting eggs all kinds of exciting colors and then spending the evening hunting for them. It is fun for the whole family. Eggs symbolize the tomb from which Christ emerged and the hatching of the baby chick is the symbol of new life being born. This is why they were chosen has symbols for Easter.

Why is the rabbit a common Easter symbol? The rabbit was appropriately associated with Easter because the hare represents fertility. It is considered a symbol of rebirth and new life. There are two stories that tell how rabbits became associated with Easter.

One account states that when the Germans settled in America they brought with them a tradition in which a rabbit would visit homes the night before Easter and leave brightly colored eggs for the children that lived there. This bunny’s name was “Oschter Haws”. The second account states that Eastre, who was also referred to as Ostara, was the Anglo-Saxon Teutonic Goddess of both springtime and fertility. She was usually seen escorted by a rabbit.

The while blossoms of Easter Lilies rise up in the spring and symbolizes the purity of Jesus. The cross is the symbol of the victory Jesus had over death and the lamb rightfully represents the “Lamb of God”. On that Palm Sunday when Jesus first arrived in Jerusalem palm branches were waved by the people to welcome him therefore, palm branches is a symbol of Easter.

The Butterfly was chosen as an Easter symbol because of its unique life cycle. It begins as a caterpillar that stands for the time Jesus spent on earth. The cocoon stage is next which represent the crucifixion of Christ and his burial. In the last stage it emerges from the cocoon as a beautiful butterfly which symbolizes his resurrection in a new glorified body. As you can see these symbols were not randomly chosen, they all have a specific meaning that is associated with new life and rebirth.

Easter is not a holiday celebrated only by Christians, however. There are other religions that celebrate Easter and even non-religious people can share in the mainstream festivities, tales of the Easter Bunny, candy and colored eggs. Whatever your personal beliefs, we hope you have a very Happy Easter!

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