Bunny Rabbits, Eggs, and Easter Lillie are all symbols that represent Easter! But, why? My daughter is always asking me tough questions like these, and because I want to keep Jesus the center or our Easter, I went out and did a little research. I found this really awesome blog that a Christian mom wrote, and so I want to share it with you. This mom has done the research, and what she found is perfect!
***Please Note that the following information came directly from http://christcenteredholidays.com/easter-symbols-history-meaning-kids
Easter Symbols: Easter Eggs
The tradition of Easter eggs is almost certainly associated with the practice of Lent — a period of preparation for Easter that includes 40 days of abstinence (designed to imitate Jesus’ forty day fast in the desert, Matthew 4:1-11).
By the 4th century, Christians had begun the practice of Lent, and in 692, the Council in Trullo (a church council held in Constantinople) gave the following instructions:
“It seems good therefore that the whole Church of God which is in all the world should follow one rule and keep the fast perfectly, and as they abstain from everything which is killed, so also should they from eggs and cheese, which are the fruit and produce of those animals from which we abstain.”
Scholar Anthony McRoy notes, “In pre-refrigeration days, it would be difficult to preserve milk and meat products until Easter, but the same was not true of eggs. Eggs, which unlike other foods do not perish quickly, were therefore a natural way to break the fast on Easter Sunday” (How The Fast of Lent Gave Us Easter Eggs).
Eggs also offered the additional benefit of serving as the perfect symbol for the “hope of new life” — a hope made possible for all believers through the resurrection of Christ.
Naturally, eggs became the focus of games and activities like egg hunts and egg coloring.
Among Orthodox believers, eggs were often colored red to symbolize Christ’s blood that was spilled to give us new life.
However, in the U.S., it is more common to see a variety of colors (usually pastels) symbolizing the many colors of “new life” that come into bloom in the spring.
And speaking of colors…
The term Easter probably comes from the Anglo-Saxon name for April, Eosturmonath, which likely meant “the month of opening” –the season when the buds open and a time that Christians can reflect on the tomb that opened!
What magnificent timing the Lord chose for his resurrection, when so much of the earth is literally “singing” of new life and bursting into color. It is lovely that Easter is celebrated with such a variety of colors, particularly pastels.
There is a practice in many liturgical Christian churches to use specific colors as visual symbols of the Lenten journey:
- Purple, a symbol of repentance, is typically associated with Lent;
- black with the darkness of Good Friday (and the hours leading up to Easter morning);
- and white and gold with the 50 days of Easter (Easter morning to Pentecost).
Throughout the Bible, white symbolizes purity, and throughout the history of the church, baptisms traditionally took place on Easter Sunday with candidates wearing white as a symbol of their new life in Christ.
The color gold is indicative of the riches of our inheritance in Christ and His kingdom, our eternal home, where the New Jerusalem is made “of pure gold” (Revelation 21:18).
But what about bunnies?!
Throughout the world, a variety of imaginative tales have developed to explain to children how eggs “appear” on Easter morning. Often the tales involve animals that are personified in one sense or another.
The first recorded evidence of an Easter bunny (or hare) was in a book called De Ovis Paschalibus (About the Easter Egg) by Georg Franck von Frankenau (1643-1704) in which he recorded that the tradition existed in Alsace (a region in modern day France that was previously populated by Germans).
The tradition was probably brought to America by German immigrants, along with the practice of setting out hats and bonnets in the hope that the Easter bunny would leave eggs for Easter morning (a precursor to the modern Easter basket).
Furthermore, there is a diverse assortment of animals that are said to deliver eggs in other countries. For example, in Switzerland, a cuckoo delivers eggs, and in Westphalia (a region in Germany), it is a fox. The personification of animals has been a favorite subject for children over many centuries.
There is no clear evidence, by the way, to suggest that the symbol of the bunny was borrowed from paganism (as is often claimed).
In fact, some Christians find that the Easter bunny is a particularly good choice as a “mascot” of Easter.
Since bunnies emerge from their underground burrows, they can serve as a symbolic representation of the resurrection of Christ as he emerges from his tomb on Easter Sunday.
I love this!!
Flowers are also a big part of Easter.
Why do we display certain flowers, such as Easter Lilies, during the Easter celebration?
Easter Symbols: Easter Lily
Among all the blooming flowers of spring, one flower in particular has earned a place as the symbolic flower of Easter – the lily.
Since lilies grow from a bulb that is buried and then blooms into life, it is a beautiful representation of the death and resurrection of Jesus.
Furthermore, the trumpet shaped blooms of lilies have been likened to the trumpets of angels that herald significant events.
Lilies announce not only the arrival of spring, but the greatest event in Christian history–the resurrection of Christ!
And last, the most important symbol of ALL during Easter!
Lastly, and most importantly, is the symbol of the cross.
It seems strange to many people that Christians cherish a symbol of the instrument on which Jesus died.
For believers, however, the cross symbolizes the profound depth of God’s love – that he would send his only Son to die for our sins. Because of the cross, we are forgiven for our sins, we are adopted as sons, and we are promised eternal life with God.
The cross is a reminder, not of defeat, but of victory–victory over death.
We can embrace the cross as an “instrument of death” because death has lost its sting. For “by his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also!” (1 Corinthians 6:14).
So, you are now prepared to tell your children all about the Easter symbols. Make sure to visit this moms website, as she does a phenomenal job keeping Christ the center of all the holidays.