Oh, Dearest Mother, Sweetest Virgin of Altagracia, our Patroness. You are our Advocate and to you we recommend our needs. You are our Teacher and like disciples we come to learn from the example of your holy life. You are our Mother, and like children, we come to offer you all of the love of our hearts. Receive, dearest Mother, our offerings and listen attentively to our supplications. Amen.



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ShawnaB
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Posted: April 09 2007 at 9:56pm | IP Logged Quote ShawnaB

...hello all...its good to be back after a Lenten break.

I was hoping that someone here might be able to educate me a bit about the symbolism in Easter eggs, what the Catholic Church has to say about them (if anything), and what part they play in your Easter celebration. This past Easter season, it was brought to my attention that some Christians do not make any reference whatsoever to eggs or rabbits because they have some sort of pagan origin. At first I thought they were kidding (how ignorant am I??), but apparently not. I always associated eggs, chickies, bunnies, flowers, etc. with spring and new life...which seem to complement nicely the Lord's resurrection. Can someone inform me here??

Thanks!

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MaryM
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Posted: April 09 2007 at 10:16pm | IP Logged Quote MaryM

It's a great question, Shawna. There is a lot of history associated with eggs and early symbolism is pre-Christian, but it was beautifully transformed into a symbol of life in Christ at a later time.

This is from Fr. Francis Weiser's book

EASTER EGGS

In the ancient times eggs were a symbol of spring and fertility. An egg seems dead and yet contains new life; so does the earth at the end of winter. This is the reason why people in pre-Christian ages presented each other with eggs at the beginning of spring (which in those days also was the beginning of a new year).

In medieval times the eating of eggs was prohibited during Lent. So the faithful transferred the custom of giving eggs to Easter Sunday. Instead of representing fertility, the Easter egg now became a symbol of the rock tomb out of which our Lord gloriously emerged to the new life of His Resurrection.

This is a beautiful symbolism that will forever associate the Easter egg with Christ's Resurrection in the minds of children, provided it has been clearly explained to them. They will then also readily understand why the Church has given us in her Ritual a special blessing of eggs at Easter time. Here are the words of this blessing:

"We beseech thee, O Lord, to bestow thy benign blessing upon these eggs, to make them a wholesome food for thy faithful, who gratefully partake of them in honor of the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ."

In accordance with this religious aspect of Easter eggs and of their Christian symbolism, it might be suggested that children receive their first Easter eggs within a little ceremony at breakfast on Easter Sunday. The cheerful colors and designs of the eggs remind them of the joy they should have on the day of Christ's Resurrection. If the Easter eggs have not been taken to Church for the official blessing, father or mother could sprinkle them with Easter water or holy water before the meal begins.


This is in contrast to the Easter bunny which does not have a Christian symbolism for the Easter season.

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aussieannie
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Posted: April 09 2007 at 10:34pm | IP Logged Quote aussieannie

Shawna, I was just doing a picture book search on amazon and this popped up unexpectedly:

The Legend of the Easter Egg

It is a picture book for children, it has a write-up on this book on the link.

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JennGM
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Posted: April 10 2007 at 9:02am | IP Logged Quote JennGM

The Egg is my favorite resurrection symbol. Visually it's just a perfect tool to show how a new life emerges from the little white shell tomb.

MaryM wrote:
This is in contrast to the Easter bunny which does not have a Christian symbolism for the Easter season.


The rabbit, since it's prolific, is a symbol of new life. I did find (and posted at the Easter Vigil Notebooks but I'm reposting here b/c the thread is so long) the best explanation/incorporation of the symbol of the Easter bunny or rabbit by Women for Faith and Family. BTW, if you haven't checked out their site for Liturgical Year information, you're missing out!

Women for Faith and Family, Holy Saturday.

About Easter Bunnies:
"The Christian symbolism of Easter bunnies might seem pretty obscure, and it's easy to suppose that the rabbits are simply a pagan symbol of fecundity taken over by Christianity. Even if so, bear in mind that the ancestors of pre-Christian (even pre-historic) pagans at some time knew about the true God Adam and Eve and Noah, for example. Pagan beliefs about God's action in the world and about man's true destiny were far from the truth, of course, but many things can be understood through basic human intelligence and that intelligence comes from God. The coming of spring is a cause for rejoicing for everybody, whether Christians or non-Christians. The Easter bunny is actually a pretty good symbol of God's plan for his creatures (including humans) to "be fruitful and multiply," and of the renewed exhuberance of all creatures in cooperating with God in creating new life. (The Easter bunny might seem to be more a metaphor for God's plan for His creation in Genesis than in the Gospels.) Maybe we should think of the fecundity of rabbits as a symbol of evangelizing, and the many new believers God desires. We could think of the eggs the Easter Rabbit carrys in a basket as representing Christians carrying the message of Christ into the world.



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JennGM
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Posted: April 10 2007 at 9:10am | IP Logged Quote JennGM

aussieannie wrote:
Shawna, I was just doing a picture book search on amazon and this popped up unexpectedly:

The Legend of the Easter Egg

It is a picture book for children, it has a write-up on this book on the link.


We have enjoyed that book. Another one that explains symbolism is Lilies, Rabbits, and Painted Eggs: The Story of the Easter Symbols by Edna Barth. I enjoy all her books.

And, just because something was originally pagan doesn't mean we can't incorporate them into our Faith. As Catholics we have "baptized" some traditions and now they are part of our Faith.

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ShawnaB
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Posted: April 10 2007 at 9:10pm | IP Logged Quote ShawnaB

Thank you all so much! This was very helpful, and I'm planning to buy both of the suggested books. I think that traditions and symbols do change over time.
I certainly don't want my sweet dc thinking of something ugly and evil every time they see an Easter egg. Even better, I'd love them to not only appreciate them for the beauty and fun that they bring, but also for the remembrance of the spiritual truth than can be seen if we open our eyes to see it. Obviously, eggs will remain a visible symbol of Easter, so I think it best to teach our children to think of Christ when they see them! Thanks for the words of wisdom.

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Karen E.
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Posted: April 11 2007 at 7:48am | IP Logged Quote Karen E.

The spring issue of Faith and Family magazine had a gorgeously illustrated version of the story that puts an "Easter Bunny" at the Cross. Radix did a coloring book several years ago (out of print now, unfortunately) with the same theme.

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