Among the popular Easter symbols, the lamb is by far the most significant of this great feast. The Easter lamb, representing Christ, with the flag of victory, may be seen in pictures and images in the homes of every central and eastern European family. The reference to lamb in Christianity goes back to the book of Genesis, When Abraham was asked to sacrifice his son.
In past centuries it was considered a lucky omen to meet a lamb, especially at Easter time. It was a popular superstition that the devil, who could take the form of all other animals, was never allowed to appear in the shape of a lamb because of its religious symbolism. In the 7 th century the Benedictine monks wrote a prayer for the blessing of lambs.
The Easter lamb represents Jesus and relates his death to that of the lamb sacrificed on the first Passover. However, the lamb was often sacrificed as offerings to God by the Hebrews long before the first Passover. Christians traditionally refer to Jesus as “the Lamb of God.”
Lamb is the symbol of renewal, victory of life upon the death, gentleness, tenderness, innocence. It is a perfect victim which should be sacrificed to assure someones salvation. The cult of Dionysus and his devotees were one of the first to use this symbol. They used to throw lambs to a chasm to ease Pylaochos, the guardian of the infernal gate. Thus the God could reappear on the coast of the lake Lerna, where from he descended to the underworld to look for his mother.
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