I was born in the Netherlands and grew up with the secular version of Easter, blended with German traditions and food as well. We dyed eggs, had an egg hunt on Easter morning, and enjoyed a fabulous Easter Brunch that featured butter in the shape of a lamb, home-baked braided bread, boiled eggs served in a basket, and a nest of chocolate eggs. The centerpiece on the table was the Paasboom, a bouquet of branches adorned with decorated hollowed egg ornaments. A few hyacinths would be wafting their scent around the house.
“Easter Eggs” on Etsy and at Aurora Rose
My grandmother took us to an Easter service once, from which I remember a song about the resurrection, but the Christian meaning didn’t really sink in until later in life. In my childhood, it was a feast of Spring and color and joy.
Since teenage-hood, Bible passages and hymns related to Easter do crop up during this time, and I pulled some of them out of my second-hand Bible to convert into pendants.
I was drawn to Mary’s Song, which is sung right after the annunciation. In Luke 1:25-30 angel Gabriel comes down to Nazareth and said; “ ‘Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.’ Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God.’ ”
Now from other accounts in the Bible meeting an angel is a terrifying experience. In addition to that, the “favor with God” was a pregnancy. I think I would have crawled in a corner and started worrying about the logistics of this as well as how my family would react. Instead, Mary sings a song:
“My soul glorifies the Lord
47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 for he has been mindful
of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
49 for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
holy is his name.
50 His mercy extends to those who fear him,
from generation to generation.
An impressive message for anyone who is facing challenges they are not sure how to meet just yet. But then, maybe she just knew that this was her path in life. Finding one’s purpose can indeed create a sense of peace and also euphoria at what the future might hold.
My next piece was about the resurrection, which of course was preceded by the death of Jesus, in Mark 15:35-40. On the front of the pendant I highlighted: “Surely this man was the Son of God!”
The back shows Mark 16:5-9: “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’”
I pulled some hymns and their scores and printed those out, but thus far only “Christ the Lord is Risen Today” transformed into pendant form.
As I’ve researched various religions, clearly traditions related to Spring and renewal from ancient times have been adapted into religious rituals and storytelling. I’m impressed by how imagery and symbolism has survived for centuries, even if our interpretation morphs over time. I did like seeing butterflies as a symbol of rebirth and resurrection.
Butterflies on Etsy, one going to Aurora Rose
To celebrate life, I also made a Helix, I’ll perfect this shape into a double helix over time.