As Christianity spread, more familiar traditions, symbols and
celebrations of spring were associated with Easter - Christ coming back
to life after death. One of the oldest spring symbols in the world is
the egg. The oval shape of the egg was the same shape for a raindrop
and a seed. These two were important life-giving elements. The egg
itself promises new life as in spring, birds, and many other animals are
hatched from eggs. In fact, the Persians, Hindus and Egyptians believed
that the world began with a single egg. In ancient China, Rome and
Greece, eggs were given as springtime gifts. In Polland and Russia,
hours are spent on drawing intricate designs on Easter eggs. In England,
members of the royal families gave each other gold-covered eggs as
Easter gifts in the middle ages. The most famous Easter egg decorator
Peter Carl Faberge. He designed eggs from gold, silver and other precious
gems for kings of Europe and czars of Russia. These eggs are priceless
now and can only be found in museums and private collections. In early
America, children decorated their eggs by using dyes made from natural
materials like fruit and leave coloring.
View the Faberge Egg Collection
MORE ABOUT EASTER EGGS
Easter Egg Coloring for Kids - Easter Egg Decorating Ideas
How to dye eggs the natural way ? Ideas for decorating eggs.
Colorful Paper Easter Egg Craft Activities for Kids
How to blow out an egg
This way your craft will last for ages. Illustrated.
Traditional Easter Eggs and Paper Cutting
Learn how to make this traditional craft.
BONFIRES & CANDLES
The Celts, a prehistoric race or people, practiced a religion called
Druidism. They believed in good and evil spirits. It was believed that
evil spirits captured the sun god and that was why there was winter.
Every beginning of Spring, they would lit up huge bonfires to frighten
away the evil spirits into releasing the sun. The lighting of bonfires
are still a part of Easter celebrations in some countries today such as
in Germany and Belgium. Today, bonfires represent the light coming to
the world through Christ. The candle is also used as a symbol of the
light of Christ.
EASTER LILY & OTHER FLOWERS
In ancient Rome, people thought a goddess Flora made the flowers bloom.
They celebrated the Festival of Floralia by having big parades and
carried garlands of blossoms throught the streets to honor her every
Spring. The statues of Flora were decorated with flowers.
In ancient Greek , people believed that the goddess Demeter's daughter
was kidnapped while picking the flower narcissus. She was allowed to
visit her mother only during spring and summer. The Greeks believed
that this made Demeter really happy and made the flowers bloom. They
thought that winter is caused by her sadness when her daughter went away
This flower thus hold a special meaning to the Greeks.
The narcissus is also a favorite Easter flower in many parts of the
world because of its bright and fragrant blossoms. The Easter lily is
a new but popular easter flower. The
was brought into the
United States in 1882 from Bermuda. They serve as a reminder of the
purity of Christ.
The cross was also a well-known symbol before the time of Christ.
It was used a special mark on clothes and buildings. However, when
Jesus was crucified, the cross became a symbol of suffering. Then
with the resurrection of Christ, the Christians saw it as a symbol of
Jesus's victory over death. In A.D. 325, Constantine at the Council
of Nicaea issued a decree that the Cross is the official symbol of
It was a Roman custom to welcome royalty by waving palm branches.
When Jesus arrived in Jerusalem on the first Palm Sunday, people
welcomed him with palm branches carpeting the streets and waving them.
Today, on Palm Sunday, Christians would carry palm branches in parades,
make them into crosses and garlands to decorate the Church.
European legend says that the hare never closed its eyes and watch the
other animals throughout the night. It became a symbol of the moon.
The hare is connected with Easter because the celebration date depends
upon the full moon.
In Egypt, people used to believe that the rabbit was responsible for the
new life in spring. Later, early Christians saw it as a symbol for the
resurrection of Christ.
According to an old German story, a poor woman hid some brightly colored
eggs in her garden as Easter treats for children. While the children
were searching, a hare hopped past. The children thought that the hare
had left the eggs. So every Easter, German children would make nests
of leaves and branches in their gardens for the hare. This custom was
brought to the United States when the Germans came. The hare became a
rabbit because there were more rabbits in the United States. Today, it
is called the Easter bunny.
In England, the goddess of spring, Eastre had an earthly symbol which
was the rabbit. She was worship by the Anglo-Saxons through her earthly
The Easter bunny also has to do with its pre-Christian origin.
The hare were very fertile animals and gave birth to many offsprings in
spring. Therefore , the bunny served as a symbol of new life during the
MORE ABOUT EASTER BUNNIES
Rabbits at Easter
Are pet rabbits good for children ? Find out.
LAMB & OTHER FOOD (PRETZELS, HOT CROSS BUNS)
The lamb was often sacrificed as offerings to God by the Hebrews long
before the first Passover. When Jesus died, he gave himself as an
offering to God for the sins of the world. Early Christians then saw
the lamb as a symbol of Jesus and used it for Easter celebration.
Many people serve lamb as part of the Easter feast.
Other food served on Easter are
, a Lenten food.
shaped symbolizes arms crossed in prayer.
In Great Britain people have always enjoyed the traditional Good Friday
breakfast of hot cross buns. They are also served throughout Easter.
Each bun has an icing cross on top to remind people of Christ. Street
vendors used to used to sing a song when they went around selling their hot
cross buns. This song is now a favorite nursery rhyme for children.
Hot Cross Buns Recipe
Hot Cross Buns Rhebus Rhyme