What do lambs and eggs have to do with Easter?

■ Metro Services / Contributed

Easter Sunday is one of the most meaningful days on the Christian calendar. Easter commemorates the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who Christians believe died by crucifixion as a sacrifice to atonement. Many symbols are associated with Easter, and understanding these symbols can help Christians and non-Christians alike gain a stronger grasp of this deeply meaningful Christian day of worship.

Lamb: According to CatholicCulture.org, the lamb represents Jesus Christ, who Christians believe is the Son of God. The lamb can be connected to Jewish Passover, a Jewish holiday that commemorates the liberation of the Israelites from Egyptian slavery. During the celebration of Passover, each Jewish family killed a lamb as a sacrifice. Christians commonly refer to Jesus as the Lamb of God, who God sacrificed so Christians’ sins could be forgiven.

Easter eggs: While Easter eggs may seem like a secular symbol of Easter, their connection to Easter dates back many centuries. CatholicCulture.org notes that the early Christians saw the egg as symbolic of the tomb out of which Christ emerged when he was resurrected. Early Christians even painted Easter eggs, much like parents do with their children today, and even had them blessed and gave them as gifts. Historians believe King Edward I of England, who ruled from 1272 to 1307, dyed boiled eggs and gave them to members of his royal household on Easter.

Clothing: New clothing is another symbol of Easter that traces its origins back further than many Christians may realize. It’s customary for present-day Christians to don their Sunday best when attending Easter Sunday Mass, and the tradition of looking sharp on Easter can be traced to the early Christians, who would wear new white robes for baptisms during Easter services. Eventually, all Easter celebrants began to wear new clothes during Easter services.

Palm fronds: Palm Sunday is the final Sunday of Lent, taking place one week before Easter Sunday. Palm Sunday commemorates Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem. According to the Gospels, Jesus rode a young donkey into Jerusalem, where the townspeople threw palms in front of him in homage. That practice was a customary sign of respect in Jerusalem, and today Christians believe the palm is a sign of peace. Palms continue to be distributed to the faithful during Palm Sunday Mass.

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