Symbols play an important role in any festival and Easter cannot be an exception. They not only mark the advent of the ceremony but also carry the essence of the same. Though most of the Easter symbols antecede Christianity which are remainders of the ancient Pagan symbols but with time each one of them relates to the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
There is no mention of a rabbit who delivers eggs to the children of good conduct in the Bible. As Easter concurs with the advent of spring, the celebrations are colorful. Easter Bunny represents fertility and new life since the ancient times. The Germans immigrants made the Easter Bunnies popular in America around the 1700s.
As per the legends, it is related with the Anglo Saxon goddess Eostre. It is believed that Eostre took pity on a bird which was unable to fly and changed into her favorite animal rabbit or hare blessing it to lay colorful eggs like rainbow once in a year. Later, when the rabbit enraged the goddess she banished it to the stars as a constellation Lepus. The rabbit s only allowed stepping on to the earth on Eostre's feast day distributing its colorful eggs to the children.
The night before Easter, children wait eagerly for the Bunny who brings them colored eggs, chocolates, gifts and toys in colorful baskets. In return, the children keep carrots on the empty baskets for the Bunny.
Easter Eggs are related to the Pagan festival which symbolizes new life. According to the Christian beliefs, the eggs represent Christ's Resurrection. The tradition of decorating eggs for Easter dates back to 13th Century. According to some, during the Lenten season eggs were considered to be a forbidden food. So to celebrate the end of Lent, people would paint and decorate the eggs on Easter.
The two popular traditions are egg hunts and egg rolling during Easter.
The white lilies are considered to be the traditional Easter flower. The colors of the pristine white lilies signify the purity of the Virgin Mary. The flower also symbolizes resurrection of Jesus Christ.
People believe Jesus as a Good Shepherd tending a flock of sheep and taking care of them. The lambs are born during the spring time and they represent Jesus who is often referred as the Lamb of God
Initially, a cross was considered to be a symbol of suffering as Jesus was crucified on it. But with the Resurrection of Christ, it represents the Christianity as well as His victory over death. It was Emperor Constantine at the Council of Nicaea declared that the Cross is the official symbol of Christianity in 325 AD.
To welcome the royalty, it was a Roman custom to wave the palm branches. On the first Palm Sunday when Jesus arrived in Jerusalem, people welcomed Him by waving palm branches. Hence Palm branches are associated with Easter often depicting peace.
Hot Cross Buns:
The icing of the buns which is a cross reminds people of Jesus Christ. They also believe that these buns have special powers to cure any ailments and to protect everyone from the evil spirits. During the ancient times, people used to hang these buns on the ceilings of their kitchen.
They are the foods eaten during the Lent the symbol represents crossed arms in the prayers.
Candles are associated with Christianity since the time immemorial. They represent Jesus as 'the light of the world' or the eternal light'.
The life cycle of butterfly represents the life of Jesus Christ. His life on earth is symbolized by the caterpillar form the insect. The cocoon stage stands for His crucifixion and His burial. The final stage which is a butterfly represents glorified and peaceful Resurrection of Christ.
The baby animals born during spring also represent new life.