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Springtime Holiday Symbolisms

Posted by: Brittney Zellner

Ahhhh yes. It is my favorite time of year again, the time of year when all the Biblical Holy Days begin anew. I just love all of the festivities and the challenges and the trials….yes, even the trials or what I like to call– “Holy Day Growing”.

In case you didn’t notice, this post will relate more to those who observe or have been observing the biblical feasts for some time. I’m not trying to leave out any unobservant Christians but you will still get a lot out of this post if you read on. I include Easter, biblical holy days, and springtime symbolisms.

To me, one of the most interesting parts of the holy days are the amazing symbolisms throughout this exciting part of the year. I tend to see everything through symbolism glasses these days and it’s kind of like seeing in another dimension, another layer, if you will, to God’s great and wondrous plan for all creation. Interested? Well then let’s get started.

Passover traditions have all the usual impressive symbolism that we tend to memorize year after year.

Matzah is the manna, the bread of life, Yeshua anyone?

Abraham is a picture of the Father

Isaac is representative of the Father’s sacrifice of the son, the messiah

The wine is joy, blood, life, and the list goes on.

The lamb, the bitter herb, the salt water….hmm now that I come to think of it, maybe this is why I love these holy days so much. They are all about symbolism. Anywho, if you are familiar with the Passover tradition of the telling of the Exodus story intertwined with the crucifixion story of Jesus then you are probably already aware of all the awesome messianic and spiritual symbolism there. These are all great and I’m sure you could find them in any Messianic Haggadah but I want to talk about some of the more blatant symbolism that tends to get overlooked.

Firstly, the exodus itself is a great big birth story. The story of how a mother didn’t want to let her baby come out until, through emotions of tears and terror, she just didn’t have a choice anymore. The baby simply couldn’t stand being outside of her prison womb and cried and cried until her father had to do everything for her. I know it might seem odd to consider Egypt a mother giving birth to Israel but step by step the process of the terrors that Egypt went through do correlate with the terrors of a woman in the pain and travail of giving birth. Even down to the watery gate the Israelites pass through into a world unknown to them.

Then there is the wonderful week of crackers and no beer also known as the week of unleavened bread. Goodbye Kombucha, we don’t want any yeast up in here! My favorite part of getting ALL of the yeast out…well, obviously it’s finding some giant jar of yeast four days later sitting practically in plain sight or something similar. Wait, so if yeast symbolizes sin does that mean that no matter how hard I try, there will still be crumbs in some tiny corner that only God sees? Or in my case some ridiculously obvious sin that you couldn’t miss if it hit you over the head? Woops.

Or the ever-present resurrection day of firstfruits (if you believe it was Sunday of course) that seems to occasionally land on Easter Sunday and then when some of my family and friends call to say “Happy Resurrection Day!” I don’t feel bad at all saying it back. I love the idea of waving and wafting grains and meat. Waving is something we do to get someone’s attention but also in order to end something or begin something and the feast of firstfruits is the beginning of the barley harvest. Hey, even the symbolism of cooking meat out in the open in what my family likes to call a Bar-bee-cue is symbolic of taking part in some action that relieves you of stress and makes you realize there is nothing to worry about anymore.

The Omer, or the counting of the Omer, symbolizes a bundle of grain bowing down. For 49 days some of us find ourselves in humble situations or bowing down purposefully leading up to the day of the awakening blast. No, not that awakening blast, the one that happened on Mount Sinai, where little Infant Israel finally found out that daddy has rules and then she immediately became a “Toddler Torah Terrorist!” Well, maybe that’s someone else I know. She also learned the hard way that there are consequences when you try to give credit to anyone but the father for all the good things and the bad things that have happened to you.

All in all, I still feel that I have to say that we should try to remember the other symbols that some of us abhor and cringe when we see also. Those rabbits and eggs and marshmallow baby yellow birds…ugh.

Rabbits symbolize the emotions of timidity, fear, and anxiety about anything unfamiliar. This kind of fear doesn’t like to venture into new territory. Eggs are something that is supposed to bring forth something new and alive but in the commercial holiday tradition, they are hard-boiled in order to make them easier to eat upon finding. As we know, this season of change is actually quite difficult if you are afraid of change and I am sure that some of us are definitely not helping them with that change. Making new situations easier by preventing growth isn’t something we should encourage either but then what should we encourage?

If all the symbolism of these Spring Feasts is about ending something old and beginning something new then how do we find a balance in encouraging the change without making them pull back even further away from the truth? There is only one symbol of this season that we should encourage if we are faced with our sweet spiritually younger brethren and their fear of change and their attempts to stop new things from happening to make life easier…and that is the cross.

The cross represents sacrifice. It symbolizes giving up habits, belongings, beliefs, or even some parts of yourself for a greater purpose. It may also symbolize sacrifices you are making for other people or caring more about others than yourself. If we encourage the cross then we are encouraging the actions we wish they would all take, like we did when we found out about these glorious spring holy days…that we really really want to be like our savior in every way.