Easter has always had much symbolism attached to the holiday. There are both religious and secular rituals around the world demonstrating the significance of the Sunday celebration. Most people are eager for winter in the U.S. to be over and done with and spring’s sunshine and blossoms to emerge.
A simple wooden cross stands to symbolize the Christian faith. Aaron Burden/Unsplash
Easter’s Christian significance is the resurrection of Jesus Christ following his crucifixion on Good Friday three days prior. The belief is that the 40 days of Lent prepared Christ for the sacrifice he gave his followers and anyone who believes that he is the Son of God. The holiday is the celebration of Christ’s victory over death.
Candice Christiansen Tucker, a middle school teacher for the Saddleback Unified School District, has two sons, Shaun, 12-years-old, and Nolan, 14-years-old. Tucker and her family observe traditional Catholic customs and practices for Easter.
“As soon as the boys were old enough to ask – around four and five – we explained the Christian significance and meaning of Easter,” she said. “We told them that the Easter bunny was not real, just like Santa Claus is a fictitious character. We still do Easter egg hunts, and I put money in the eggs, rather than candy, and the boys seem to enjoy that.”
The COVID-19 pandemic prevented the Tucker family from getting together with relatives, including Tucker’s mother and father. This year, they plan to reunite for a holiday dinner with ham, deviled eggs, and all the sumptuous side dishes.
“My mom and dad have gotten their vaccines, and I only have my second round next week, so we will plan a much-anticipated get-together,” she said.
Deborah Prince, a published author of a memoir titled Unmarked Escape Routes, lives and works in Mission Viejo. She shares how she will celebrate Easter this year as she has been vaccinated for the Coronavirus. After a year of quarantine, it will be a relief to get together with family.
“I have a decorative headband which has five colorful light-up eggs which I’ll turn on before I drive to my cousin Cindy’s home,” Prince said. “Her grandsons will absolutely love it. The older I get, the more being silly is important to my mental health.”
Betty Rawlings, a retired journalist from the University of Texas, has three grown children and celebrated Easter in Christian and secular fashion when they were young.
“I recall using it as a time to get my three kids new outfits to wear to church,” Rawlings said. “Knowing how I loved to celebrate everything, we must have dyed eggs and hid them. I do the same with my grandkids.”
Rawlings recollects one of her favorite holiday traditions of dining out on Easter Sunday.
“I spent so much time cooking during other occasions, Easter was designated as a date out for the family,” Rawlings said. “We found a place in Newport Beach that had a nice brunch and free champagne and we would go there every year,” she said.
Easter is a highly significant holiday in the religious faith, but some traditions date back to pre-Christian times of pagan celebrations. The English goddess Eostre was known for the start of the Vernal Equinox — when the sun crosses directly over the equator to mark the beginning of Spring.
The Easter bunny is a symbol of Spring brought to life by an ancient fable of Eostre. Wikimedia
The folklore says that Eostra turned a bird into a rabbit, and the hare responded by laying colored eggs to honor her. Hence, the origins of the Easter bunny and the brightly colored eggs that children enjoy with candy and other treats.
Easter is an ancient word. Another theory is that the English word Easter comes from an older German word for east, which comes from an even older Latin word for dawn. In spring, dawn marks the beginning of days that will outlast the nights, and those dawns erupt in the east.
The ties that both religious observers and pagan celebrants share give multiple reasons to celebrate this holiday that ushers in the spring. Easter is a renewal of faith and joy in almost every aspect – for adults and children alike.