Symbols of Easter
Colors – The beautiful colors of Easter are echoed in the church’s liturgical colors. Lent is full of purple and violet, of course, the colors of penance and sacrifice. But Laetare Sunday, the fourth Sunday of Lent, surprises us with beautiful rose, the color of our joyful anticipation. Easter Sunday brings us pure white vestments, sometimes adorned with gold, the colors of celebration, victory, joy and rebirth.
Eggs – Symbolically, eggs have a long history and it’s easy to see why. To pagans, nothing more closely spoke of fertility and rebirth than an egg, that sterile and shelled little object that suddenly explodes into new life. It’s easy to see why the church adopted eggs as symbols of returning life. And those cracked and no-longer-needed shells certainly resemble an empty tomb. By the 13th century people had begun coloring eggs. In the beginning people dyed eggs bright red to symbolize Christ’s blood. This was followed by an explosion of color, and by the 13th century, King Edward I of England was so into the custom that he prepared 450 magnificently dyed Easter eggs, some covered in gold leaf, for his royal court.
Easter Lilies – Just peer into a lily and you can envision an empty tomb opening toward you. The white of the lily symbolizes purity, and there’s a legend that the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus prayed over his impending death, was full of lilies.
Palms – They’ve been a symbol of victory since before the time of King Solomon, and Jesus was welcomed into Jerusalem with a shower of palms before his Passion began. That’s why they are used on Palm Sunday, and burned before the next Lent to be used as ashes on Ash Wednesday.
Easter Bunny – It’s harder to place them in religious tradition, and no special ritual prayer exists for our cotton-tailed friends. However, again since pagan times, rabbits have been symbols of fertility, their reproductive prowess well-known throughout history. They, too, embody the rebirth that comes in the Easter season, and our culture has tasked them with delivering all those symbolic eggs that mark Easter Sunday.
Easter bonnets – They used to be prevalent, encouraged in part by the old tradition of head-coverings for women in church. Today, you still see a few. With or without a bonnet, come Easter morning, find something festive, colorful and special in your closet to add a traditional and personal “Alleluia” to the greatest liturgical celebration of our church year.
Anne Atkin, Principal
Sacred Heart School
Students are balanced: confident of mind, academics and Catholic Faith.
Serving the Community. Teaching our students to live and model the Catholic faith. Reflecting the unconditional love of Jesus.
Remaining structured with the purpose of graduating students who are prepared to persevere.