When you think of Easter what springs to mind?
Chocolate eggs? The Easter bunny? Daffodils?
1 For many churchgoers Easter is the most important period in the Christian calendar with the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. This Easter booklet features a silver cross and snowdrops representing Jesus’s crucifixion and the emergence of new life in spring.
2 The link with spring flowers, new life and new hope is universal. Rabbits and the Easter bunny symbolise fertility, as do the eggs we decorate, discover or devour.
3 As eggs contain new life, they have often been seen as miraculous. This beautiful hammered-silver egg opens to reveal an etched golden yolk, which contains, not a small creature, but a gold and diamond ring.
4 Easter, as a named celebration, is pre-Christian. The period is named in honour of Eastre or Eostre, the Saxon goddess who represents the triumph of the sun after the gloom of winter.
The name of this goddess also gave us the word “east” – the place we look to for the rising sun or the rebirth of the day.
As a festival, Easter has even older roots. The vernal or spring equinox – when the days become longer than the nights – was of huge importance to our Neolithic ancestors. Many ancient monuments like the Mayan temples, Stonehenge and Mnajdra in Malta were built to celebrate and honour the fertility of the earth and life-giving sun. Many cultures have their own traditions and beliefs that celebrate spring, with Songkran in Thailand, No Ruz in ancient Persia, the Feast of Cebele in ancient Rome and the Festival of Isis in ancient Egypt.
The rebirth of plants and the season of young animals after a hard winter must have been wondrous to our ancient ancestors. So, let’s continue these ancient traditions and celebrate the return of life at Easter.