Traditions & Symbols of Easter
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There are many traditions and symbols associated with Easter that have survived and indeed flourished over the centuries. The most visible symbol of Easter that comes to mind is of course the Easter bunny with his Easter eggs. Other symbols of Easter include chicks, lilies, sunrise services and new pairs of clothing.
The Easter eggs represent the beginning of a new life. This was symbolic of the advent of Spring which brought with it a new life for flora and fauna. Easter eggs were first colored by the pagans to resemble the rising sun and announce the return of light. The northern lights were also painted on the Easter eggs.
Later, an ancient Christian legend spoke of Mary giving the eggs to Roman soldiers and begging them not to kill her son. Subsequently, Easter eggs became a popular gift to give on Easter to bring luck and welfare to the family.
The most popular Easter eggs are definitely the Faberge eggs. The Russian Czar wanted to give his wife, the Empress Marie an extremely unique Easter gift. So he commissioned the famous goldsmith named Peter Faberge to create a special ornamental Easter egg for his wife – now known as the Faberge egg.
Some myths also came to abound about the Easter egg during the late Christian period. It was believed that eggs laid on Good Friday, if kept for a 100 years would become diamonds. Also, if Good Friday eggs were cooked on Easter they would promote fertility of crops and prevent against sudden deaths. And last but not the least, two yolks in an Easter egg meant you were going to be rich very soon!
Easter Bunny & Chicks
Rabbits and chicks represent the rebirth of Earth. Spring is a time when the Earth is literally reborn. Barren fields become lush green, trees get new foliage and flowers and fruits abound. The Easter bunny is definitely the most beloved symbol of Easter and extremely popular with children.
In fact, history indicates that it may have been the hare and not the rabbit that was associated with Easter. The hare is legendary because it is believed to never close its eyes – not even to blink. Rabbits on the other hand are born blind. Hares were thought to be staring at the full moon all through the night. The hare was also a symbol of fertility linked to the Greek goddess of fertility - Eostre. However, rabbits are more fertile than hare and far more prolific reproducers. Thus, the transition from the hare to the rabbit as a symbol of Easter.
The white lily is thought to be pure as Christ and a symbol of the purity of the new life that comes from being resurrected. The white lily did not gain popularity in America until the 1800s.
The Native American lilies were summer flowers. They could be made to bloom early in time for Easter using hothouse conditions but the hassle did not seem worth it. It was in the 1880s that Ms. Sargent on a trip to Bermuda, fell in love with the Bermuda white lily, which blooms in springtime. She brought home some bulbs to Philadelphia and a nurseryman called W.Harris fostered its popularity. Subsequently, the white Bermuda lily became the accepted symbol for Easter and is the most popular flower for Easter decorations today.
Other Symbols Of Easter
A new Easter outfit supposedly symbolizes a new life. It stands for shedding the old and welcoming the new. Sunrise services are more of an event that happened in the days when people woke up at the crack of dawn. It was a way to welcome the light after a long, dark winter. Some churches still hold sunrise services.
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