The official website for the Monroe Bible Quiz Team from Beacon Hill Evangelical Free Church.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

HOLY WEEK LEFTOVERS: Where do the symbols of Easter come from?

Holy Week raises lots of questions worth answering, which we don't always get around to discussing during Holy Week.  We'll take a few days this week to look at those questions.

QUESTION 4:  Easter has a lot of traditions/symbols.  From where do we get the egg, bunny, etc.?

Tradition is always a tricky thing to talk about, because each culture and even sub-culture can have their own traditions.  But traditions almost always go back to a real core of truth, somewhere in their past. Let's go over a few of the most common Easter traditions:

  • Rabbits (The Easter Bunny):  Easter is all about life, and rabbits have long been symbols of life due to their large families.  But there is more to it when it comes to the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  The rabbit coming out of her hole is a symbol reminding us of Jesus emerging from his tomb.
  • Eggs (Easter Egg Hunts/Rolls):  Eggs are also symbols of life. And a chick emerging from what previously looked like a lifeless stone is a symbol reminding us (again) of Jesus emerging from the tomb.  The coloring of eggs comes from old traditions which forbade the eating of eggs during Lent (as a symbol of denying oneself) but encouraged their eating at Easter as a celebration.  The rolling of Easter Eggs is symbolic of the stone being rolled away from the opening of the tomb.
  • Candy:  There is nothing subtle about this.  Candy is a sign of celebration and a symbol of the sweetness of life.  Candy makers have, of course, embraced this as a chance to sell every kind of sugary snack imaginable which cover the other symbols of Easter.
  • Parades:  While modern Easter parades don't look much different from Christmas or New Years (or NCAA champion) parades, ancient Easter parades were quite different.  They were made up of new converts to Christianity and people who were newly baptized, wearing white to proclaim to the world that they had been forgiven of their sins.
  • Lilies:  Easter lilies are always purest white, reminding us of the purity of our new life as forgiven people, saved by the blood of Jesus Christ.
  • Sunrise Services:  Well, this one is no mystery.  The women went to the tomb in the early morning, and that is when they discovered - to their great confusion and soon to their great joy - that his corpse was not there.  Jesus was alive!
  • New Clothes for Easter:  The buying and wearing of new clothes at Easter is not just about "looking your best for God".  It is also a symbol of the new life Christ brought us with his death and resurrection, clothing us in his own righteousness.