Easter: Celebration of the Egg Planning ahead: Invite participants to bring various things related to eggs. Or you can actually bring hard boiled eggs and decorate during while talking.
The Pagan, Jewish and Christian traditions converge around the egg around the Spring Equinox.
Why is this time of year different from other times?
This is the time when we remember that death is a natural part of life on earth and that all living things renew themselves over and over, year after year. This is the time when Passover and Easter are celebrated. It is the time of Easter bunnies and decorated eggs.
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The egg is an integral part of three stories that converge in spring celebrations.
Story of the earth. The egg was an important symbol in the mythologies of many early civilizations, including those of India, Egypt and Persia. In one creation myth, the world began as chaos in the form of an enormous egg. Its contents were all disorganized so that chaos finally split the shell. Then the upper shell formed the dome of our sky and the rest became the earth.
The ancient people who lived in northern lands waited anxiously each year for spring to return. They watched eagerly for the first green shoots of spring, which meant fresh food for their own families. The men built bonfires to urge the sun's return after the cold winter. And the children cooked eggs in great pots of water over smaller fires. In the pots are various roots and bark and berries. When the eggs are taken out, they were colored. Eggs were exchanged at the spring equinox to wish a good new year.
Story of Passover. Long ago, the Hebrew people were slaves in Egypt. Because the Pharaoh refused to free the slaves, Moses and Aaron and their god, Yahweh, brought one affliction after another to the Egyptians. Finally Yahweh passed through the land by night, bringing death to the firstborn son of every Egyptian family. Yahweh told the Hebrew people to kill a lamb and mark their doorways with its blood. When Yahweh came to a door marked with the blood of the lamb, he would “pass over” that house. The Hebrews were able to escape from Egypt, and after wandering for many years, finally came to a Promised Land of their own. At Passover, Jewish people celebrate their freedom with a Seder dinner. The egg is a symbol of rebirth and growth, but it is eaten with salt water to remind us that joy with new life is mixed with pain.
The Christian Story. The Easter story happened many, many years after the Hebrews left Egypt. It is the story of a man named Jesus, a Jew who lived during the time of the Roman empire. Jesus brought new inspiration when he talked about love and non-violence and respect for every person. Some of the Roman rulers were afraid he might start a rebellion, and some of the Jewish leaders were afraid he might change their religion. It was just after Jesus and his friends had celebrated a Passover Seder together that he was arrested and put to death on the cross.
Christians of the Near East adopted the egg as a religious symbol – it represented the tomb from which Jesus broke forth. The egg is also symbolic of Christ rising from the tomb, both in the way the chick emerges from the egg and to represent the stone that was rolled in front of the tomb. The egg also shows the relationship between Easter and the renewal of life.