Thursday, April 1, 2004

Easter Traditions

Spring is a wonderful time of year. I love to watch the flowers and trees come back to life after a long winter nap. It seems to me that nature itself is telling us about the resurrection of our Lord. I am so thankful that He came and lived and died and rose again for our sins.

I want to share with you some Easter traditions.

At Easter we celebrate the glorious news of Christ’s resurrection from the grave. Over the centuries, many traditions have developed relating to this central event of the Christian calendar.

The ancient Saxons celebrated the return of spring with a festival relating to a Teutonic goddess they called Estre. When Christian missionaries in the second century encountered these northern tribes, they assimilated the pagan festival of Estre, which occurred about the same time of year as the Christian observance of Christ’s resurrection. The name Estre was ultimately changed to its English spelling, Easter.

In the Latin church, eggs were forbidden to be eaten during Lent. Therefore, on Easter day, eggs were served painted bright red, as a symbol of joy.

The tradition of the Easter bunny came to America via German immigrants. The rabbit was an ancient pagan symbol of fertility. (If you have ever raised rabbits you how true this fact is.) It was only after the Civil War that Easter began to be widely celebrated in the U.S.

These are only a few of the traditions of Easter. I am not so interested in traditions but I am interested in the facts of the Easter that we celebrate! I am so glad that when we think about Easter we think about Jesus, the only Son of God, who came to earth to live and die for our sins. I am so glad that He rose the third day and that He is alive today! The reason we know that He is alive is because He lives within our hearts.

If we know this it isn’t just tradition but a fact!