Archive for April, 2012

The answer lies in the creative way that the early Catholic Church absorbed pagan practices into Christian celebration. By copying pagan practices and giving them new Christian meaning, it made it easier for the pagans to accept the new faith. The wedding ring is an example of a pagan symbol that was given new Christian meaning.

The pagans had a holiday worshipping the goddess Estre. She was the goddess of fertility and springtime. Her earthly symbol was the rabbit. The pagan holiday was celebrated around the same time as the memorial of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. The holidays were combined into a Christian celebration called Easter. The Catholic Church gave Easter a new meaning.

Easter is a celebration Jesus’ death and resurrection by which we each have a chance of salvation and new life through Him. Eggs, rabbits and springtime are symbols of new life. Rabbits, being very fertile, were often used in early Christian art as a sign of fertility and new life. Eggs were used to symbolize creation and rebirth. The hard shell of the egg is symbolic of a breaking open, the emergence of new life. This emerging is similar to Jesus as He broke open the tomb when He rose from the dead to new life.

Colored eggs also signify springtime and were often colored by boiling them with springtime flowers. The tradition of red colored eggs symbolized the blood of Christ poured out for us.

The Easter bunny bringing baskets of colored eggs and hiding them is a relatively modern practice; used to entertain children.

In our modern secular culture, the real meaning of Easter has been lost to commercialism. The rabbit has been turned into a holiday mascot while the Easter egg a billion dollar marketing strategy for selling candy and chocolate Easter eggs. Not that I have anything against chocolate eggs; especially the peanut butter ones.

So enjoy a delicious chocolate egg, have fun with the children, but don’t forget to bring the real meaning of Easter to your family this year. Remember, this is the celebration of the resurrection of our savior Jesus Christ.

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