Easter Symbols and Easter Meaning
Easter symbols are not always what they may seem. There is a lot going on with this holiday than what you may find in the stores or advertised on your television. Easter meaning is incredibly profound. Easter and its symbols are far more epic than plastic painted eggs and chocolate rabbits.
It’s rather sad this profound day in history has been reduced to pawning off fuzzy chicks and marshmallow eggs at dollar stores. Don’t get me wrong. I’m a sucker for the jelly beans, fuzzy bunnies, and egg hunts. But like Christmas, the holiday becomes ludicrously weakened by commercialism. Apparently, what sells the most makes a holiday what it is today, and that’s just super-sad (IMHO).
In truth, what is now commercialized Easter props meant a lot to ancient cultures (and I’m not talking about money and profit!). Did you ever stop and wonder why the egg is a symbol of Easter? Or why rabbits are synonymous with Easter? Eggs, bunnies, chicks, lambs…these are all-powerful Easter symbols. Rather than buying these icons to stuff into cute little baskets, we should be contemplating the symbolic origin of them. Why? Because these symbols are iconic for a reason.
Take for instance the egg. Did you know the first full moon in April is called the “Egg Moon?” Yup. Well, that’s one several full moon names of April derived from various Native American peoples. Native tribes such as the Six Nations (Mohawk, Onondaga, Oneida, Cayuga, Seneca and later, Tuscarora) had very special names for the full moon in each month. These names were specific to various phenomena in nature that captured their attention during each month.
Native people like the Haudenosaunee (known also as Iroquois, a name the early colonists gave these people – they are the Confederacy of the Six Nations mentioned earlier) didn’t mindlessly tick off days on a calendar to keep track of time. No! They observed, listened, smelled, viewed, learned and lived by nature’s timing. By doing so, these wise folks saw patterns in nature that were pretty consistent within certain segments of time.
So, these savvy people noticed every year around this time, there seemed to be a plethora of life. They noticed buds and blossoms breaking the soil. They noticed fish getting frisky in the rivers, streams, and ponds. These shrewd Native people also noticed grasses returning to the land. And YES! They noticed eggs turning up from all manner of creatures. That, my friend, is why the full moon in April is known as the Egg Moon. It is also known by such names as: Pink moon, Flower moon, Grass moon, Seed moon and Fish moon.
(Get the whole list of Native American Moon Names and Native American Moon Meanings here.)
Here we have the first remnants of true, authentic Easter symbols in action. This month rolls out the royal carpets for LIFE. From eggs to buds, Easter marks the time of new life after many months of darkness and the cold cruelty of winter. So the next time you bite into a Cadbury chocolate egg (I love those things!), consider the Egg moon, and how the first inklings of life are starting to return to the land.
Easter meaning is truly symbolic and should be embraced with a kind of wonder and awe. Why? Because (rain and mud aside) it is a time when we can really experience the grandeur of nature as she puts on her parade of life bursting at every seam in her beautiful canvas. In fact, nature’s most prolific creatures, the rabbit, is another wink to powerful Easter meaning.
How so? Well, rabbits really go to town this time of year. Their senses are keen and sharp. They know there is plenty of food for themselves and whatever offspring they produce. Therefore, rabbits start doing what they do best…having babies! With plenty of food and cooperative weather, this is the time of year when bunnies can get down and “bo-do-dee-do.” That’s my Ma’s sweet way of saying copulate…you know…or, ‘coitus’ as Sheldon on the Big Bang would say…I could go on and on with the colorful colloquialisms…but that would be a whole post unto itself! LOL!
This bunny bit leads me to an interesting point about Easter meaning. Have you ever wondered why rabbits are often coupled with Easter? What’s up with those yummy chocolate bunnies whose ears we love to eat first? Or the adorable fluffy rabbits adorning Easter greeting cards?
Well, as it so happens, the roots of Easter were first planted in the very capable hands of an ancient goddess named Ostara (or Eostre). To explain, Ostara is a goddess that was recognized by fathoms of people in the era of European antiquity. This age-old goddess was a powerful figure of fertility. And hey, guess what? One of Ostara’s sacred symbols was the rabbit! Through the ages, Ostara was appreciated at this exact time of year for bringing life back to the land. Over time, the name Ostara got morphed into what we now know as ‘Easter.’
This kind of morphing happens all the time. As cultures collide and mesh, words get a little twisty, but their meanings should always hearken back to their origins. That’s why I am so passionate about the tapestry of symbolic meanings.
Pull on the first threads in history about Easter meaning, and you will find the goddess Ostara there waiting for you. Pull even further, and you will learn Ostara was one of the first to beckon the first return of life (a.k.a.: Spring).
Pull a little more on historical threads, and we see Ostara is associated with super-profound symbols of life, like the rabbit, the egg, and even the lamb in some segments of ancient Europe belief systems.
But wait, there’s more! Ostara isn’t the only fertility goddess of old times. The Egyptians were keen on the goddess Wenet, who, not surprisingly was seen in the form of a rabbit. And what was Wenet known for? Fertility, renewal, a continuation of life, and protection of life. Fancy that!
There are loads more accounts about Easter symbols reaching as far back into history as ancient Mesopotamian years. This is just one brief account to (hopefully) tickle your fancy about Easter meaning, Easter symbols and how those chocolate eggs and bunnies get in your basket!
At the end of the day, this time of year should be a mark on the calendar to celebrate life. This is a time of renewal. This is a time of embracing the new and turning away from the scars we may have been left within the past (the ‘winter’ of our lives, so to speak).
So the next time you gobble down a sugary Easter treat, consider how this holiday is a time of resurrection, renewal and resurgence. This is truly the grandest opportunity to surrender to the light life offers and set aside the darkness we may have been subjected to in the past.
If you haven’t figured it out by now, I’m pretty passionate about Easter meaning and all the Easter symbols that come along with the holiday. I genuinely thank you for taking the time to read my rant. I especially thank you for contemplating the deeper meaning of this deeply holy and profound time of year.
As always, thanks for reading.
I wish you all a happy and fruitful Easter.
Other Articles of Interest on This Site
Native American Moon Names
The Native American full moon names on this article were established by eastern and northern US tribes such as the Algonquin and the Iroquois. These moon names and meanings give us a broad understanding of each month and the personality each season presents.
Symbolic Rabbit Meanings
You might overlook symbolic rabbit meanings because it seems to be such a small, timid creature. Bad idea. Rabbits offer big lessons about being more aware of our environment and protecting ourselves if we sense a threat. Rabbits are also a symbol of fertility, family and new life. Check out all rabbit meanings here.
Symbolic Meaning of the Egg
There’s a lot more to eggs than what you find in your Easter basket or crack in your Sunday skillet. Get more details on symbolic egg meaning here.
Celtic Gods and Celtic Goddess Meanings
Celtic gods and goddesses serve as powerful symbols within the Celtic culture. They are representative of a stronger, higher power; they are immortal, yet possess human traits. Find out about the history of more Celtic goddesses here.
Animal Symbolism and Signs of Spring
As you read in this Easter symbols article, certain animals are symbolic of spring, renewal and transformation. Get a whole list of animal symbolism as signs of Spring here.
Meaning of April Fools’ Day
April Fools’ Day has a varied and intricate history. So much so, it’s hard to know where to start pulling the thread of history to gain clarity about this day in time. Get info on the origins and meaning of April Fools’ Day here.