Posted by Administrator on 4/19/2014
Easter is Christianity's most important holiday and
is being observed by an estimated 2 Billion people over this weekend. Given the
significance and solemnity of Easter, it’s interesting to note the number of
well, shall we say fascinating secular symbols, which have developed around
this serious religious observance.
Of course the most prominent of all is the Easter
Bunny. The exact origins of this individual are unclear, however it’s generally
accepted that rabbits are an ancient symbol of fertility and new life. Please
note - We have no idea how he got the suit. According to some sources, the
Easter bunny first arrived in America in the 1700s with German immigrants and
the tradition eventually spread across the country.
The egg, another ancient symbol of new life, has long
been associated with pagan festivals celebrating spring. To ancient Christians,
ever alert to the opportunity to incorporate pagan traditions into their new
church, Easter eggs represent Jesus' emergence from the tomb and resurrection. The chick, hatching out
of the egg, symbolizes new life or rebirth.
Since Easter symbolizes the end of Lent, i.e. a time
of refraining from the pleasures of life, e.g. candy, chocolate, etc., it
wasn’t long before confectioners began creating candy in shapes and images
associated with Easter. Some of the most popular treats associated with the
season are chocolate eggs, which date back to early 19th century Europe.
Another favorite egg-shaped candy, the jelly bean, became associated with
Easter in the 1930s and of
course there’s the ever-popular marshmallow chicks known as Peeps, which
appeared in the 1950s.
And for those of us who lived through many years
of large floral hats and frilly pastel dresses it must be gratifying to note
that hats show respect and honor, especially in European traditions, so festive
hats became part of the Easter ritual – don’t ask about the frilly flowery
frocks, they matched the hat!
Essentially all of these symbols celebrate new
life and new beginnings and we can use this Easter season as an opportunity to
recommit to our planet, to cherishing the earth which is our home!