The English word Easter, which parallels the German word Ostern, is of uncertain origin.
Easter, like Christmas, has accumulated a great many traditions, some of which have little to do with the Christian celebration of the Resurrection but derive from folk customs. The custom of the Easter lamb appropriates both the appellation used for Jesus in Scripture (“behold the lamb of God which takes away the sins of the world,” John 1:29) and the lamb’s role as a sacrificial animal in ancient Israel.
In antiquity Christians placed lamb meat under the altar, had it blessed, and then ate it on Easter. Since the 12th century the Lenten fast has ended on Easter with meals including eggs, ham, cheeses, bread, and sweets that have been blessed for the occasion.
The use of painted and decorated Easter eggs was first recorded in the 13th century. The church prohibited the eating of eggs during Holy Week, but chickens continued to lay eggs during that week, and the notion of specially identifying those as “Holy Week” eggs brought about their decoration. The egg itself became a symbol of the Resurrection. Just as Jesus rose from the tomb, the egg symbolizes new life emerging from the eggshell. In the Orthodox tradition eggs are painted red to symbolize the blood Jesus shed on the cross.
Easter (and Spring) bring about renewal. As with Autumn, there is a certain something about each season that conjures up specific feelings and emotions. With Autumn, I tend to write a lot about reflection and introspection. With Spring comes hope, renewal and joy.
Here, in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, joy surrounds us. "Aesthetics of joy" (as I like to call them) are everywhere if we just take a moment, stop, and take it in. This Spring, as you and yours celebrate Easter, give rise to hope and joy in your life.
One of life's most wonderful gifts is the gift of joy. There are so many different posts on my blog that capture the importance of joy in our lives and what it does for us each and every day. Take a moment to check out these blog posts all about joy and all found on www.iloveureka.com:
Small Town Joy https://www.iloveureka.com/post/small-town-joy
Joy-Spotting (series) https://www.iloveureka.com/post/joy-spotting-chapter-1-of-5
The Joy of Autumn in Eureka Springs, AR https://www.iloveureka.com/post/the-joy-of-autumn-in-eureka-springs-ar
Eureka Springs elicits JOY https://www.iloveureka.com/post/eureka-springs-elicits-joy
Navigate your Joy https://www.iloveureka.com/post/navigate-your-joy
Eureka Springs is universally joyful https://www.iloveureka.com/post/eureka-springs-is-universally-joyful
Happy Easter! 🐇 Joy is everywhere. Stop. Observe. Be present. Take it all in.