We have been on lock down here in France for a long time and it’s likely to continue. Our priest has been celebrating the mass all alone throughout this time and transmitting it via Facebook. It’s incredibly poignant.
He asked that on Easter Saturday we light a candle and put it in our windows to signify the resurrection and give hope. As France is a Catholic country and we’re Catholic I like to make decorations that reflect this for the holidays. So yesterday I brought out some Easter decor and put it on our front door.
I thought I’d share the symbolism behind them and some how tos so you can make your own. They’ll be appearing over the next few days.
I’ve started to plan my Easter wreaths but I like to do a little research first to make sure the symbolism I use tells our Catholic story. I had dismissed the bunnies, no matter how cute, as I assumed they were a pagan or secular tradition. However it seems that I was completely wrong.
According to this Catholic site the ancient Greeks believed rabbits could reproduce as virgins and as result in early medieval times they became associated with the Virgin Mary. Rabbits began appearing in illuminated manuscripts and paintings where the Virgin Mary was depicted, serving as an allegorical illustration of her virginity.
So although the Easter Bunny was popularised by German Protestants the rabbit is Catholic.
Not secondary to Mary, of course, He is the First and the Last – the Alpha and Omega. Jesus is represented by a lamb, going back to the first passover sacrifice. Among the popular Easter symbols, the lamb is by far the most significant of this great feast. The Easter lamb, representing Christ, with the flag of victory, may be seen in pictures and images.
Did you know the oldest prayer for the blessing of lambs can be found in the seventh-century sacramentary (ritual book) of the Benedictine monastery, Bobbio in Italy? Roast lamb was also the main feature of the Pope’s Easter dinner for many centuries. It was also a popular superstition that the devil, who could take the form of all other animals, was never allowed to appear in the shape of a lamb because of its religious symbolism.
As my front door is a double door I’m going to definitely have two easter wreaths there, one a lamb with a J and one with a rabbit with an M.
Traditional easter flowers would be Lilies, an ancient symbol of the Resurrection. However as I’m using silk flowers obtaining lilies that are realistic looking has been difficult.
Alternatives are azaleas, tulips (seen as messengers of love, passion and belief) as well as daisies (innocence and loyalty).
Although I may have a third wreath with some of these (particularly the last) I have decided to use silk peonies, both for practical reasons and their symbolism. I ordered my silk peonies from a Chinese dealer and they’re beautiful – I’ve used the supplier before and I was confident they would be and a fraction of the price elsewhere. I still buy silk flowers in France as I believe in contributing to the country, but I need to be careful with money too. These are a good buy but you must be careful to order them with plenty of time for their delivery.
Their symbolism in Christianity is for an ardent love of God – which is suitable for this time of year don’t you think?
White Lace and Gold Letters
For the hanging tie I’ve chosen white lace. It symbolises both the bright light of the moment of Resurrection and the purity of God’s love for His People.
Also God for the letters above, for the same reason. Did you know that these are the pope’s colors since the pope is the closest representative of Christ in his glory?