Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter to all of you!

After a long forty days of Lent, now is the time that we celebrate the Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ from death. Easter is the greatest feast day in the Catholic church. The feast of Our Lord's Resurrection proves His divinity, His power over life and death. It is a feast even more revered than the feast of Christmas.

The word "Easter" stems from an old Teutonic mythology. According to St. Bede, the word Easter was derived from the name Eostre, the Anglo-Saxon goddess of Spring. The festival of Eostre was celebrated at the vernal equinox.

Since Catholics are masters at taking pagan or protestant feasts and turning them toward God, Easter now focuses on the Resurrection of Christ from the dead. Even now, this feast falls on the Sunday immediately following the Spring equinox, making it a movable feast that can occur between March 21 and April 25.

Easter also corresponds with the Jewish feast of the Passover, emphasizing Christ's assertion that He "did not come to destroy the (old) law but to fulfill it." Easter is the New Testament continuation of the Old Testament Passover.

The word Easter brings various associations, from the Resurrection of Christ to the Easter bunny. We know about the Resurrection. Here are some explanations about the various Easter symbols that appear during this time.

Hot Cross Buns: These lovely buns are a traditional food baked on Good Friday. The white cross symbolizes the cross upon which Christ died. They are said to have originated in 1361, where the monks distributed them to the poor. During the Tudor times a bylaw was created that banned these types of foodstuffs. However, Hot Cross Buns were still allowed, but only on Good Friday. (Click here to find a lovely recipe for Hot Cross Buns on Old Fashioned Girl's site.)

The Easter Bunny: The rabbit, or hare, was a symbol of abundant new life in ancient times. Catholics took this pagan symbol for fertility and new life and turned it into the religious example of Christ rising from the dead and thereby giving new life to all faithful believers. The modern idea of the Easter Bunny originated in Germany, where the children would make nests in the grass for the shy little Easter Bunny, in hopes that the grateful creature would reward them with sweets and candies. Nowadays, a basket is used to recall the grass nest.

Easter Eggs: Eggs were a symbol of new life. As a chick breaks free from the confines of the egg, so did Christ break the seal of His tomb to rise in glory. Another association is this: in Medieval Europe, eggs were forbidden during the forty days of Lent. At Easter, the consumption of eggs was resumed. Eggs became a mainstay of Easter meals, and were a prized gift for children.


Easter Lilies: These gorgeous flowers have always been a symbol of purity. In old pictures of saints, those saints that died as virgins are often depicted with one of these pure white flowers. For Our Lord, these flowers also symbolize new life, keeping with the idea of renewal and rebirth.

Lambs: This one is an obvious symbol. Christ is called the Lamb of God, because lambs are meek, mild creatures. Christ went to die for us as meekly as a lamb goes to slaughter.

Palm Leaves: These branches symbolize the Sunday before Easter, Palm Sunday, when our Lord rode into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey, and all the people cried out "Holy, holy, holy!" and laid their cloaks and palm branches on the road before Him. Incongruous to think that, a mere four days later, they went out with torches and staves to bring Him as a criminal before Pilate. (For a lovely link on how to weave palm leaves for Easter, click here.)

Butterflies: Butterflies are by far one of the most perfect examples of the Resurrection. Its whole life cycle mimics the entire Resurrection. The butterfly starts its life as a simple caterpillar. Christ started His life as a simple Carpenter. The caterpillar wraps itself in a cocoon. This symbolizes Christ, after his crucifixion and death, being wrapped in His shroud and laid in a Sepulchre. Finally, the caterpillar splits open its cocoon and comes out into the world in a glorified image and form. Christ broke free from His tomb in His glorified body, triumphing over death.

Have a wonderful and blessed day. Until next time, God bless, and Happy Easter!


Fun links for you to enjoy

The Holiday Spot
About.Com/ Easter
Food Timeline
Catholic Cuisine
Italiansrus

6 comments:

  1. Happy Easter, Cat. Great post! :-) I loved all the pictures. God Bless!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Happy Easter, Kit. :)
    Nice post, I didn't know that about the eggs...it was just a thing we *did*!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks for the comments, you two. I'm glad you liked the pictures. They ARE nice, aren't they? :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Wonderful Easter post! Just lovely.

    ReplyDelete

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