Easter Eggs / Easter Lilies


The egg has become a popular Easter symbol. Creation myths of many ancient peoples center in a cosmogenic egg from which the universe is born. The egg, therefore, is a natural symbol, not only of creation, but also of re-creation and resurrection. In ancient Egypt and Persia friends exchanged decorated eggs at the spring equinox, the beginning of their new year. These eggs were a symbol of fertility for them because the coming forth of a live creature from an egg was so surprising to people of ancient times. Christians of the Near East adopted this tradition, and the Easter egg became a religious symbol. It represented the tomb from which Jesus came forth to new life. Because eggs were at one time forbidden by the church’s Lenten discipline of fasting and abstinence, they were a precious Easter food.Easter eggs are usually given to children, either in Easter baskets or hidden for the children to find. They are first boiled and then dyed with bright colors. Among some ethnic groups these eggs, usually with the contents removed, are painted with elaborate designs. Among the Slavic people these are called pysanki (“to design”). The custom of decorating trees outdoors with decorated, hollow Easter eggs originated in Germany. Easter egg hunts, and even the egg-rolling on the White House lawn, are contemporary versions of egg games played on Easter for centuries in European countries.

Easter Lilies did not exist in the North America until about 100 years ago. The white trumpet lily, which blooms naturally in springtime, was introduced here from Bermuda by Mrs. Thomas P. Sargent. The popular name “Easter lilies” comes from the fact that they bloom around Eastertime. They have become associated with Easter as much as poinsettias are with Christmas. In early Christian art the lily is a symbol of purity because of its delicacy of form and its whiteness. For the same reason it serves well as a symbol of resurrection

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