Saturday, April 23, 2011

Where do the symbols of Easter come from?

The lamb - In the jewish faith the lamb symbolizes God's mercy and deliverance from slavery long before Christ.  Long ago it was believed that when the blood of a lamb was spread on their doors the angel of death would pass over them.  This allowed the Israelites to leave Egypt for the Promised Land.  Christians call Jesus "The Lamb of God" who was sacrificed to free the world from sin.

Easter Bunny and the eggs - The bunny was born a bird according to the Anglo-Saxon folklore.  During a long cold winter he nearly lost his life.  Eostore, the Goddess of Spring, arrived late that year.  Eostore found the freezing bird and saved him by turning him into a snow hare.  In memory of his past she gave the hare the ability to lay eggs in all colors of the rainbow on one day each year.  The hare gave these colored eggs to children who had been good that year.

Eggs seen as signs of renewal - Going back to 5,000 B.C. eggs have been colored and given as gifts of friendship to celebrate the renewal of life and nature that spring brings.  Europe adopted the tradition and the German settlers brought the practice to the United States along with the tale of the Easter Bunny and decorating trees and bushes with eggs during the Easter season.

Lilies and Easter - Christians brought lilies into the Easter  celebration because they were said to have sprung from the ground where Jesus's tears fell on the night before he was crucified.  The flowers symbolize everlasting life and are dubbed "white-robed apostles of hope".

Easter Chicks - Chicks symbolize new life and have become a staple in Easter decorations.  In the United States they are second to the Bunny but in Norway the kids wait for the fabled Easter Chick.

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