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If you’re a Christian, you certainly observe Easter. However, how much Easter symbols do you know? Where did Easter symbols originate? Apart from the motives related to the celebration of Jesus Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection, do you know why we spread Easter eggs for kids to find, why chicks have become Easter symbols, or why we eat more chocolate on Easter time? This is what you’re going to discover in this page.
Let Me Count The Days… When is Easter?
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The date of Christian Easter is as follows: according to the Gregorian calendar, we celebrate Easter on the first Sunday after the full moon that follows the spring equinox. However, there is an exception: since the Orthodox church still refers to the Julian calendar, Orthodox Easter happens 13 days after ours.
So this year Easter will be celebrated on…
The legend of Easter bells
In some European countries, bells are the main Easter symbols. Here is their history:
In the ancient times, the bells were ringing every day of the year to invite people to attend the mass, to celebrate the birth of a prince, or for any other public event.
On Good Friday, bells leave our countries and fly to Rome where they’ll be blessed by the pope. They will come back the night of Easter Sunday, bringing eggs that they will distribute to our people.
During Good Friday till Saturday at midnight, bells don’t ring any more… But on Easter Sunday, they ring to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus.
Whether real eggs which were boiled and dyed, chocolate eggs, sugar or any other substance eggs, children definitely enjoy getting Easter eggs!
The use of eggs in Easter celebrations existed long before our modern days observance. As an example, in the ancient Egypt and Persia, peole used to dye eggs with the colors of the spring and gave them to their relatives as a symbol of life renewal.
Nowadays, Easter egg coloring has become one of the most popular Easter craft activities and we hide eggs in gardens, yards and parks for the kids to hunt them. As a matter of fact, Easter egg hunt has become a must-do activity on Easter time.
My favorite chocolates are… Belgian. Instead of purchasing Godiva, Neuhaus, Jacques or any other chocolate, I only buy Cote d’Or and Leonidas chocolates as they are the ones that have this strong chocolate taste. Naturally, whatever your favorite chocolate is, it is always welcome to get such a mouthwatering treat on Easter time.
The Easter bunny
Here’s the story that explains the origins of the Easter bunny…
In the past centuries, the hare was a symbol of abundance, proliferation and renewal ; rabbits were even considered as animals very prolific, more particularly in the spring time. In the ancient times, bunnies were already symbols of life and fertility.
In the XVth century, the hare and the rabbit were associated to Easter for the first time in the German communities.
Over the centuries, the Easter hare became then the Easter Bunny.
So cute chicks
Eggs and chicks are closely linked in the Easter traditions. Indeed, where does the Easter egg decorating tradition comes from?
As a matter of fact, the egg comes from the chicken; which is the reason why chicks are supposed to give their eggs – whether these are decorated Easter eggs or not – to the kids on Easter time. Because of this belief, chicken became an essential Easter symbol.
The Easter chicken is popular in many countries, although it originated, in reality, from Austria, in Europe. Depending of the country, the Easter chicken can be a chick, a cock, a stork, a cuckoo, etc.
Some of you might never have heard about the Easter lamb tradition; which is a tradition to eat lamb on Easter time. Nevertheless, lamb is another important Easter symbol and here’s some information about its tradition.
In the New Testament, there is a parallel between Jesus’ death and the paschal lamb giving his life in sacrifice. Jesus is the messiah who leads his people, the sheep of God. The lamb represents purity, innocence, justice.
And so, it’s a custom in many Christian countries to eat lamb on the day of Easter. I generally cook a leg of lamb with garlic, green peas and gratin dauphinois.
Easter lily flower
Now, let’s take an eye to the origins of the famous Easter lily flower. This beautiful flower is native to an island located near Japan. There is a legend that says:
At the time Jesus went to a place, all the flowers, plants and animals bowed to his passage, except the lilies. Lilies were too proud to accept this. But when the lilies saw Jesus on the cross, their head bent and since that day, they continue to bend their head as a sign of respect.
Old fashioned Easter water custom
Another Easter symbol you might never have heard about is the Easter water. I myself, didn’t recall that my grandmother, who is very pious, used to go find Easter water whenever we spent Easter in the countryside.
However, Easter water is a very very old custom that tends to disappear nowadays. Here’s what this strange tradition is all about.
Early in the morning on the day of Jesus’ resurrection and before the sun rises, our ancestors used to go to the river to take water.
This water was used to bless the house, what was being done with a branch that they received at the church on the Sunday before Easter Sunday.
The Easter Cross is an Easter symbol that all Christians know about, there’s no doubt about it! The symbolic representation of the cross has been associated with Christianity and Easter in the early centuries after the death of Jesus.
The cross was a symbol of Jesus, who passed to save all those that receive baptism, the cross represented the inhuman treatments of the Roman Empire as well.
Today those of the Christian faith consider the cross as a symbol of bravery and redemption.