Which came first – the chicken or the egg? Well, you can’t have an egg without the chicken, right? But then again, how could the chicken get here first when you can’t really have a chicken without an egg? Cliché as it is, this is really a pretty good philosophical question. It is also a good theological question as well because it has to do with creation and, following logic, about God’s role in creation.
But I am not going to take this post in that direction. I simply begin with this because this is Easter and the egg is one of the most recognized symbols of Easter.
More importantly, Easter is one of the few religious holidays in American culture that is still deeply rooted in religious beliefs and traditions. The religion in this case is Christianity. Easter is the time when Christians celebrate their belief in the resurrection. That means that after Jesus died, he came back to human life. The purpose of this resurrection was to further demonstrate 2 things: 1) he died in order to be the absolute and final sacrifice for all humans for human sin; and 2) all humans can have eternal life in heaven as demonstrated by Jesus’ return to earth after physical death.
So what does this have to do with the egg? Well, the egg symbolizes life and in Christian symbolism, it represents the tomb (grave) of Jesus’ death (because it sort of looks like a rock) and eternal life because life comes from the egg.
As a symbol of life, the egg was a part of spiritual and cultural beliefs long before Christianity. It was taken into Christian symbolism as a natural transition after Jesus.
In present times, Americans enjoy Easter egg hunts usually held on Saturday before Easter or on Sunday afternoon after church and a big family lunch. Colorful eggs are hidden around in the grass, trees, under things and perched in between things and then children race around to find them.
Many Americans buy new clothes to wear to church on Easter Sunday. And of course, food is always a big part of the celebration events. Families gather together and either eat at someone’s home or they all go out to a restaurant together. Sometimes churches will hold a potluck meal after the worship service.
Whether or not you believe the basic Christian premise – that Jesus the man was God on earth in human form – I hope you will enjoy this traditional Easter hymn.
Christ the Lord is risen today, Alleluia!
Earth and heaven in chorus say, Alleluia!
Raise your joys and triumphs high, Alleluia!
Sing, ye heavens, and earth reply, Alleluia!
Love's redeeming work is done, Alleluia!
Fought the fight, the battle won, Alleluia!
Death in vain forbids him rise, Alleluia!
Christ has opened paradise, Alleluia!
Lives again our glorious King, Alleluia!
Where, O death, is now thy sting? Alleluia!
Once he died our souls to save, Alleluia!
Where's thy victory, boasting grave? Alleluia!
Soar we now where Christ has led, Alleluia!
Following our exalted Head, Alleluia!
Made like him, like him we rise, Alleluia!
Ours the cross, the grave, the skies, Alleluia!
Hail the Lord of earth and heaven, Alleluia!
Praise to thee by both be given, Alleluia!
Thee we greet triumphant now, Alleluia!
Hail the Resurrection, thou, Alleluia!
King of glory, soul of bliss, Alleluia!
Everlasting life is this, Alleluia!
Thee to know, thy power to prove, Alleluia!
Thus to sing, and thus to love, Alleluia!
For more information about Easter, check out the history channel.