There are a lot of Easter symbols and traditions that many people on earth observe at the same time each year. In this article, we explore three common ones, the Easter Eggs, the Easter Bunny and the Easter Lamb, each of which have a special origin story.
Easter is an important feast day in the Christian church that celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The feast day can be moved but it always falls on the first Sunday after the first full Moon after the spring equinox.
When Easter comes around, there are some traditions that follow among those who are religious. Some people decorate their homes with colored Easter eggs, some leave out baskets for the Easter bunny to fill, some give Easter lilies as gifts, and others eat traditional foods ranging from lamb to ham to special sweet breads.
Ever wondered about its history? If not, you should, because it is quite a rich and complex one. Below are some of the Easter symbols and their origins.
The oval-shaped egg is an accepted Easter symbol in many religions across the millennia and it is supposed to symbolize new life, rebirth, and fertility. The Easter Book by Francis X. Weiser, S.J. claims that the origin of the Easter egg can be traced to the fertility lore of the Indo-European races.
To our pre-Christian ancestors, it was memorable to see a new and living creature come out from a seemingly inanimate object. In many cultures, eggs have become a great symbol of Easter with many exchanging them as gifts and others decorating them for the season.
Many countries even have egg hunts and games, too. Some use plastic eggs filled with candy treats as well. Also each year in Washington, D.C., there is an egg-rolling party on the lawn of the White House.
Easter usually comes in springtime and celebrates new life. The hare fits the bill because it is a springtime creature blessed with fertility.
The rabbit symbolism origins can be traced back to pre-Christian fertility lore, while the hare was the Egyptian symbol of fertility.
The ancient Greeks also looked upon rabbits as animals that could reproduce as virgins, so in the early medieval times, the rabbit was associated with the Virgin Mary and would commonly appeared in medieval art.
However, the “Easter Bunny,” was originally invented by German Protestants as the Osterhase or “Easter Hare” who brought eggs and sweets to “good children."
The Easter Bunny arrived on American shores the same time as German immigrants in the 18th century, and not long after, the folklore spread across the United States.
This is by far the most significant symbol of the Easter season. The lamb reportedly symbolizes Jesus and represents sacrifice. In Christian history, the lamb was a sacrifice made during the Jewish Passover.
Jesus was crucified during Passover week after which he gave his life as the ultimate sacrifice. He is referred to as the “Lamb of God” and “our Passover lamb” in the Bible so during Easter, Christians celebrate Jesus’ passover from death to life.