Are you ready for Easter…religiously, for gifts, decorations, eggs and things to do?
Easter is the most important festival in the Christian calendar. It celebrates the resurrection from the dead of Jesus, three days after he was executed. The Easter story is at the heart of Christianity.
The foundation of this belief is the significance of resurrection, re-birth, new life and fertility. This is the reason why the Cross, eggs, bunnies and Spring have evolved over the centuries as symbols of religious faith in the context of Easter. Commercialisation of this festival followed soon afterwards, evolving into the multi-million pound industry it is today.
The Cross, as the symbol of Crucifixion, was recognised by Constantine in AD 325, when he decreed that the Cross was the official symbol of Christianity. The Cross, soon became a year-round symbol of the Christian faith.
From early historic times, the egg was a symbol of re-birth in most cultures. Eggs have been viewed as symbols of new life and fertility. Eggs were wrapped in gold leaf by the rich, or coloured brightly by boiling them with the leaves or petals of certain flowers, if poor. The exchange of eggs in the springtime is a custom that was centuries old when Easter became a celebration for Christians. Today, children have great fun hunting coloured or chocolate eggs and placing them in Easter baskets; providing the Easter Bunny has visited, that is.
The Easter Bunny is not a modern commercial invention, as many think. The Anglo-Saxons worshipped the goddess Eostre through her earthly symbol, the rabbit. This became to be known as the pagan Norse festival of Eostre.