LAUREN BRANT: Unpacking Easter traditions

Lauren celebrates her first Easter as her mother Becki O’Brien holds her while they look at the Easter eggs. Brant always enjoyed coloring eggs a variety of colors.

Coloring Easter eggs has been a family tradition since I was a baby and as I grew older, I began to understand the symbolism behind this Easter festivity.

Growing up in Moses Lake, Washington, I celebrated my first Easter in 1994. But it wouldn’t be until a couple years ago that I understood the symbolism behind the holiday’s tradition and Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection.

As someone who likes a lot of color, my Easter eggs were a combination of multiple shades of red, blue, purple, yellow and orange.

While the process of safely lowering the hard boiled egg into the color was nerve-wracking, using a spoon and plastic egg grabber allowed me to create multi-colored creations. On occasion, I would drop the egg too soon and it would hit the bottom of the cup and crack. Disheartened, I lifted the egg and cooked egg pieces out and threw it away. While losing an Easter egg was never fun as a kid, it wasn’t until a couple years ago that I learned the symbolism of the Easter egg in biblical terms. Viewing the shell of the egg as Jesus’ tomb and the breaking of the egg as a symbol of Jesus’ resurrection and our eternal life, the Easter egg is an everyday item we see that reminds us of Jesus. When the egg shell cracks, it spreads throughout the cup. Such phenomena is synonymous to the salvation Jesus’ death on the cross and resurrection gave to man. When the tomb was found empty and the stone removed, God defeated as he showed is compassion for man and his longing to bring us into the light of God’s grace and eternal salvation.

Another Easter tradition I always enjoy is eating Peeps. According to the candy’s website, they were first created in the early 20th century in Brooklyn, New York, before the operation moved to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

These colorful sugar birds not only symbolize the start to spring and the birth of animals, the idea of the bird also can represent rebirth that Jesus gave us when dying for our sins.

The moment of hatching from the egg can also be the moment of baptism and the fresh start to a life in God we gain by declaring him as Lord.

The Easter bunny is another prominent symbol of new life. Taking pictures with the Easter bunny was almost as exciting as taking a picture with Santa around Christmas. As the anticipation ahead of the Easter egg hunt built, talking to the Easter bunny was always a good time. While this character plays a prominent role in the holiday, the idea of a bunny also symbolizes fertility and new life.

As I grew older, finding all the Easter eggs proved to be a test of speed. The rule in the house was I had to find all of the eggs before I could open my Easter basket. Knowing the toys and candy that awaited in the basket, I would run around the inside and outside of the house looking for eggs. When I was in elementary school, there was an Easter where I quickly found most of the plastic and hard Easter eggs hidden throughout the house. But there was one egg missing. Several hours later, I found the egg hidden on the closet floor, but more importantly, I learned the value of persistence and perseverance.

Easter egg hunts may require agility, but it also taught me how once I set a goal, it’s up to me whether or not I achieve it.

The same is true with my relationship with God. It required some soul searching first and persistence to connect with him and when I found his treasure, the same joy of finding an egg overcame me.

While the popular Easter traditions make the holiday fun and have been passed down through generations, within those traditions are connections to the stories of Jesus’ life, crucifixion and resurrection that make Easter a holy day to rejoice.

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Lauren Brant is a reporter with the Star-Herald and the Gering Courier. Contact her at 308-632-9043 or by email at lauren.brant@starherald.com.