From the Easter eggs we decorate to the symbol of the cross itself, Easter is rife with symbolism. Many of our most cherished traditions and stories surrounding Easter Sunday have been around for centuries, and while we may not think of them as much more than fun family traditions, there is much more to these customs than meets the eye!
The Easter Bunny:
The Easter bunny has become a prominent Easter symbol thanks to some mega marketing campaigns. Yet, this is certainly not a symbol we learn about in Passion plays or from our church leaders, so how did the idea of a rabbit delivering candy to children on Easter come about? Rabbits, known to be prolific procreators, are also an ancient symbol of fertility and new life. Since Easter occurs in the spring, a time when our surroundings begin to blossom with new life, it is easy to see how the rabbit has become a symbol in Easter festivities.
The egg is an ancient symbol of new life and Easter eggs are said to represent Jesus’ emergence from the tomb and resurrection. Easter egg hunts and egg rolling are two popular egg-related traditions. While Easter egg roles have no religious significance, some people have considered egg rolling symbolic of the stone blocking Jesus’ tomb being rolled away, leading to his resurrection.
Most people choose to wear bright colors and pastels when deciding what to wear on Easter. It’s not even something we think about, but rather an innate sense of what should be worn to celebrate this joyous occasion. Why do we do this? Because wearing bright colors is a way to express our joy for the new life and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Easter is a time for celebration and the clothing we wear expresses that celebratory mood. White colors typically symbolize the hope of the resurrection, as well as the purity and newness that comes from victory over sin and death. Gold and yellow colors often symbolize the light of the world brought by the risen Christ that enlightens the world.
The cross is one of the earliest and most widely used symbols in Christianity. In a very broad sense, it symbolizes the religion of Christianity, but it also represents and memorializes Christ’s death. The story of Easter tells of how Jesus was crucified on a cross, which is now seen as a representation of the instrument of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. It’s also sometimes used to represent Jesus’ victory over death.
After he died for our sins, Jesus was then laid to rest in a tomb and rose from the dead on the third day after he was crucified. The empty tomb reminds us that Jesus died for our sins, was buried and was raised again, returning to life to prove that He is sinless and that He is God.