Celebrating the Colors of Easter

Easter Sunday is the time to shed the darker, drabber colors of winter and mourning and to bring out the brighter colors that celebrate the arrival of spring and the rebirth of hope on the earth. Traditionally, Easter Sunday follows Holy Week, that period of time when most Protestants and Catholics solemnly remember the days immediately preceding and including the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. His death occurred sometime between A.D. 26 and A.D. 36.

Many churches decorate their sanctuaries with purple during Lent, the 40 days of circumspection and penance that lead up to Easter Sunday. Purple signifies both suffering and royalty. Jesus Christ claimed to be the son of God, and He suffered greatly before his crucifixion on a Roman cross. Some churches also add a cross draped with red to symbolize the shedding of blood and black to represent the death of the Christ. However, on Easter Sunday, life springs forth once more as the church celebrates the resurrection of the world’s Savior. Black and red are replaced by white and gold, the colors of purity, new life, celebration and wealth. Churches may bedeck the drab and lifeless cross with fresh, colorful flowers, creating a huge, living visual.

Congregants traditionally join the celebratory spirit of the day by donning their best and brightest colors. Light shades of pink, green, yellow and lavender are popular for little girls’ Easter dresses. Other fun pastels include light shades of orange, turquoise and coral. Lace, frills, sashes and hats are added as worshippers gather to honor the King of Kings who has risen from the grave and thus offered the promise of heaven to all who follow Him. Easter, or Resurrection Sunday, is definitely the high point of celebration for Christians around the world.

For those who ignore religious imagery, Easter is still a time to officially pack away the winter colors and get out the brighter, happier colors of spring. However, both the annual Easter egg hunt and the charming chocolate Easter bunny are drawn from pagan religious traditions. It is believed that these symbols arose from the spring festivals that honored the German goddess of fertility, Ostara. Both eggs and bunnies represent reproduction and new life.

Coloring eggs gives them added attention. The most popular dye colors are light blue, pinkish light purple and light green. Each year the White House joins in the celebration with a children’s Easter egg roll on the official lawn on Easter Monday. Simple dye kits make egg coloring a fun activity for any family, not just the rich and famous. A variation on the egg hunt is to buy plastic colored eggs and fill them with candies and small treats.

For women, spring is also an opportunity to celebrate. This year’s new popular color is Tangerine Tango, but almost any shade of orange will make a bright, cheerful statement. Big, bold blocks of solid colors are showing up in skirts, dresses and tops. Large geometric prints and even loud florals are going to be hanging on the racks. Whether you celebrate Easter for its religious significance or as simply the right time to change out your winter wardrobe, get ready to pull out the brighter colors and enjoy more time in the great outdoors. Celebrating Easter means spring is here!