At Old World Stoneworks, we love to celebrate Easter, and we know that our customers do, too. For Christians, it’s one of the most important days of the year. But no matter your religion, it’s a day that tells us spring is here, flowers are blooming (or will be soon, depending where you live) and it’s time for a new start. What could be a better reason than that to decorate the mantel? But first, a little context on the history of the Easter season.
40 Days of Easter
In the Christian church, the Easter season is the 40 days of Lent leading up to Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection. Traditionally, these 40 days are a time of almsgiving, fasting, prayer, and inner scrutiny. The season culminates in Holy Week, including Good Friday and Easter.
In the US, Good Friday, the day of Jesus’ crucifixion, is not a very visible commemoration outside of churches. But other countries mark the day more publicly. In Spain, parades of penitents walk the streets in hooded robes, carrying pieces of wood to signify crosses. Central and South Americans carry statues through the streets in processions leading to their churches. In the Philippines, some devout Christians graphically reenact the crucifixion!
Secular folks have embraced the Good Friday tradition of hot cross buns. These yeasty, doughy buns are full of currants and marked with a cross. Toasted with butter and jam, they’re heavenly.
Secular Easter Symbols
Our more religious Christian customers may opt for a crucifix or cross at the center of their mantels for Easter. But those who are more secular – or simply more private in their beliefs – may choose the more spring-like symbols of the season. Any of these items will look great on your mantel, interspersed with bouquets of spring flowers like tulips or irises.
Bunnies! How did rabbits become such an overwhelming Easter symbol? These prolific procreators have more to do with springtime than religion. This ancient fertility symbol seems to have first appeared on the Easter scene in the US via German immigrants in the 1700s. These Pennsylvania Germans brought a story of “Osterhase,” a hare that lays colorful eggs. Their children built nests in anticipation, and left out carrots for her, much as kids leave cookies for Santa. Nowadays, Osterhase is widely commemorated in chocolate throughout the Easter season.
Eggs Another classic fertility symbol, the egg is a natural symbol of new beginnings. Christians can interpret chicks springing from eggs as Jesus’ emergence from his tomb. But this symbol goes way back to pagan festivities. However you view eggs, their white shells make the perfect blank canvas for dying and decorating. We can thank the Pennsylvania Germans for Easter egg hunts, too.
Candy Treat-filled Easter baskets are a staple of the holiday. And with the rise of plastic eggs, candy is a natural egg filler. Jelly beans, chocolate rabbits and eggs, and, of course, Peeps, are top sellers. Believe it or not, Peeps are made by a candy company in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, the state that also brought us Osterhase. Warning: If you decorate your mantel with candy, be prepared to replenish it throughout the season. It has a mysterious way of disappearing.
If your old mantel is overshadowed by your Easter décor, give us a call! We’re always happy to help you upgrade to the gorgeous mantel your home deserves.