Why Easter Eggs at Easter?
The meaning of the word Easter
The word 'Easter' probably comes from the Anglo-Saxon goddess 'Eostre'. She was the goddess of the dawn, and her spring festival was celebrated each April. This pagan festival celebrated the return of Spring and new life.
At the same time of the year, Christians were celebrating the 'resurrection' of Christ. Jesus overcame death and gave us the chance of eternal life. The new life in the natural world at Easter time or Spring time reminds us of God's new life for us.
The meaning of Easter Eggs
As Christianity spread, it took over many of the ancient festivals - and so many of the Easter customs have their origins in earlier festivals. Hard-boiled eggs, with painted shells used to be given as presents on Easter day as symbols of new life. Easter day is a happy celebration that Jesus is alive.
Easter Day nearly 2,000 years ago
On Easter morning a few women went to the tomb and found the stone rolled back and Jesus' body gone - the tomb was empty except for the grave-clothes. Later that day, Jesus appeared first to Mary Magdalene and then to the other disciples (except Thomas), showing that he had overcome death and was alive again.
Thomas found this hard to believe. Not surprising - I expect many of us find it hard to believe. But a week later Jesus appeared again and let Thomas, nicknamed doubting Thomas, see and feel the nail marks in his hands and side. Thomas then became convinced that Jesus really had risen from the dead to new life.
The relevance of Easter Day today
Easter is the most joyful Christian festival where we celebrate that Jesus rose from the dead. He can do anything. And it is great news for us, because we too can have eternal life with God by believing that Jesus is our Saviour - that he died - as a sacrifice for our sins - and then rose again to new life.
Today, we usually buy and give chocolate Easter eggs rather than hard-boiled painted eggs - probably because most of us love chocolate. We give chocolates at festivals, parties or when visiting friends - at various types of celebration. Therefore it seems very appropriate to have chocolate Easter eggs to celebrate the Christian message of Easter, that Jesus is Alive!
Taken from a LinkUp article by R Cornish in April 2001; LinkUp is the local magazine of the United Anglican Methodist Church in Sturry, Fordwich, Westbere, Hersden and Broad Oak.