COLUMN: Hospice believes in the hope of Easter

Published 7:30 am Saturday, March 30, 2024

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Many of us enjoy the Easter traditions – from the Easter bunny to decorating eggs, however, it is the Easter story, the victory of eternal spiritual life over earthly death that gives us hope in the resurrection and confidence that we will see our loved ones again. Jesus’ reappearance after his crucifixion and burial gives us assurance that this life is not all there is to life.

Vickie Wacaster, Patient and Hospice Advocate with Aveanna Hospice (formerly Comfort Care Hospice)

In the midst of Easter activity, I want to reflect on the history of a few of our Easter symbols.

  • Easter eggs and baby chicks – Eggs and chicks symbolize new life. Eggs have been a symbol of spring since ancient times. It’s commonly believed that the shell represents the tomb in which Christ was buried and the chick that hatches from the egg represents Christ rising from the dead. During Lent, eggs were forbidden therefore, many would boil and decorate the eggs in anticipation of celebrating when they could eat them again.
  • Easter bunny – The rabbit, or hare, was a symbol of abundant new life in ancient times, and reminds us of spring and new life. It was believed that the rabbit never closed its eyes but watched the other animals during the night, thus rabbit became a symbol of the moon, as the full moon indicates the time for Easter.
  • Easter lilies – The white blossoms symbolize the purity of Jesus. Lilies, emerging from the earth in the spring, also symbolize new life and the resurrection of Christ.
  • The lamb – Represents Jesus, “the Lamb of God.”
  • The cross – Symbolizes Jesus’ victory over death and has become a universal symbol of Christianity.
  • Palm branches – The waving of palm branches was a Roman custom for welcoming royalty. People waved palm branches when Jesus arrived in Jerusalem on the first Palm Sunday.
  • Easter hats and wearing new clothes for Easter – Symbolizes new life offered through the death and resurrection of Jesus.
  • Hot Cross Buns – Hot cross buns have a cross of icing on the top to remind people of Christ.
  • Candles – Symbolize Jesus, “the light of the world.”
  • Pretzels – A food eaten during Lent – the twisted shaped symbolizes arms crossed in prayer.
  • Easter and spring flowers – Daffodils and tulips bloom in the spring and symbolize spring and new life.
  • Baby animals – Baby animals born in the spring also represent spring and new life.
  • The butterfly is one of the significant symbols of Easter. Its whole life cycle is meant to symbolize the life of Jesus Christ. The first stage is the caterpillar, which stands for His life on Earth. The second phase begins from the cocoon stage, portraying the crucifixion and burial of Jesus. The third and final stage is the butterfly, representing His raising from the dead in a glorified body and peace.

Whatever your traditions are our hope, prayer, and our wish for you and your family this Easter weekend is to celebrate life everlasting and may the blessings of the Lord be upon you. – Psalms 129:8

Regardless of a person’s religious beliefs, it is the goal of Hospice to honor life by providing excellent end-of-life care as we treat our patients with honor, respect, and dignity.

— Vickie C. Wacaster is a Patient and Hospice Advocate for Aveanna Hospice.