Easter Sunday is two weeks away and everywhere you look it’s all things Easter so I thought I’d share with you some fun tidbits on a few of the more popular things we think of when we think of Easter. From the Easter Bunny to Jelly Beans and more, have fun learning and sharing the stories behind each of them.
Let’s hop right to it with the beloved Easter rabbit, AKA the Easter Bunny. Much like Santa Claus and Christmas, rabbits have nothing to do with the real meaning of Easter, Jesus’ resurrection, but like other Easter favorites they do represent “new life,” which is what Easter is really all about.
Easter always occurs in spring and spring is when the weather gets warmer, flowers start to bloom, and animals come out of hiding after a long winter of hibernation. Lots of other animals like rabbits are born in the spring, which again brings up “new life.”
So, what about Easter eggs? Well, lots of animals like birds and lizards are born from eggs and many of them are born in the spring reminding us of new life once again. And if you think about it, Jelly Beans (one of my favorite candies) are oval-shaped just like eggs so it’s no coincidence they are an Easter basket tradition. Peeps are also a favorite Easter treat and are shaped like baby birds I, however, am not a Peeps fan although they are kinda cute.
As I just mentioned, Jelly Beans are one of my favorite candies and another Easter custom is also a favorite of mine: the Easter Lily. In fact, it’s in my top three favorite flowers right up there with daisies and tulips. Every year I buy myself one and even a grocery store variety is sufficient in that any lily smells divine and fills a room with its own heaven-sent scent. I can smell their fragrance just looking at the picture above. But why do we only enjoy them at Easter?
Traditionally, the trumpet-shaped white blooms symbolize purity, virtue, innocence, hope, and life…the very spiritual essences of Easter. They’re mentioned in both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible and are referenced several times in the Song of Solomon as well as in the Sermon on the Mount. Their religious tie-in goes even further.
Often called “white-robed apostles of hope,” lilies were said to be found growing in the Garden of Gethsemane after Christ’s agony. Tradition has it beautiful white lilies sprung up where drops of Christ’s sweat fell to the ground in His final hours. Today churches commemorate this belief by filling altars and aisles with Easter Lilies. They embody joy and life and serve as beautiful reminders that Easter is truly a time of rejoicing and celebrating.
Easter Lilies can fill a room with their sweet aroma as can some of the traditional foods we eat at Easter. Like ham. But how exactly did it get to be the meat of choice at our Easter tables? It all goes back many, many years ago when hogs were slaughtered in the fall but due to lack of electric refrigeration; any meat that wasn’t eaten fresh in the cold months was cured so it would keep longer and be edible in the spring. It just so happened that, because curing takes a while, the first hams were ready right around Easter. Thankfully today we have the finest of refrigeration so hams of all sorts can be found year ‘round. Still, whether honey-baked or smoked, chances are ham will be on many an Easter table.
Lastly, one of my favorite Easter legends. I’m not sure how I never knew the story until fairly recently, especially since I grew up in the Rocky Mountains where there are many pine trees, but it was news to me when I came upon it. And I loved it.
Apparently this time of year pine trees start their new growth. The tallest branch shoots forth and upward and forms the shape of a cross. If you look up and look around at certain pine trees you might see shoots developing making a familiar shape. The yellow shoots first form vertically followed by side buds, which eventually form branches and new growths that resemble a cross. They start slow and small, but as the days get closer to Easter, the tallest shoots branch off and form the familiar Christian symbol leading some believers to say “even trees know it’s Easter!”
The crosses are more prominent and more readily seen on Loblolly Pines in the southern U.S. and on Ponderosa Pines in the west but can also be found on a variety of other pines as well. The fact that this happens around the Easter season is likely pure coincidence, but who doesn’t love a little lore?
So there you have it, all things Easter wrapped up nicely in a virtual basket of info. I hope you learned something, liked it, and have an Easter season filled with hope, love, and lots of Jelly Beans!