What is the meaning behind Easter eggs?
by Janice Ross (revised, originally published in 2014)
Suitable for Whole School (Pri)
To explore the symbolism of the Easter egg.
Preparation and materials
- You will need to be familiar with the story in the ‘Assembly’, Step 3.
- Optional: you may wish to prepare an Easter egg hunt as part of this assembly. Please check allergies and the school policy prior to the assembly.
Alternatively, you may wish to hide cardboard eggs or blocks around the room. An egg template is available at: https://tinyurl.com/2z29uh2a
- Ask the children whether they have seen any Easter eggs in the shops. Ask whether any of them have received an Easter egg yet.
Listen to a range of responses.
- Optional: tell the children that they are going to go on an Easter egg hunt and ask a few of them to find and collect the eggs that you have hidden around the room.
Alternatively, describe what an Easter egg hunt is.
- Explain to the children that you are going to tell them a story about two friends called Josie and Jake.
Josie and Jake and the Easter Egg Hunt
Josie and Jake were friends. They had been friends at toddler group, when they were just two years old, and they had been friends at nursery, when they were three and four years old. Now they were all grown-up and in primary school and they were still friends. They had a lovely teacher called Mrs Donaldson.
Josie and Jake had just finished an Easter egg hunt in their classroom. Josie had found three eggs: one was under the table, one was inside a pencil case and the third was on top of the bookcase. Jake had found five eggs: one was hiding inside the teacher’s empty mug, one was behind the plant on the windowsill, one was under a piece of paper, one was between two books on the library shelf and the fifth one was on top of the book cupboard.
The Easter egg hunt was a really exciting activity and each time another egg was found, there were more squeals of delight. Soon, Mrs Donaldson’s basket was full of brightly coloured eggs.
‘Come and sit down in a circle, children,’ she said. ‘I have a story to tell you and I think you could all have an Easter egg to enjoy while I tell it.
‘Many years ago, there was a woman called Mary who lived in a country called Israel. One Easter day, she went on a hunt like you did just now, but she wasn’t looking for Easter eggs. She was hunting for a person.
‘Mary had lived a sad life until the day she had met Jesus. Then, Jesus had become her friend and she had spent many happy days in his company with the disciples. However, the day before, Jesus had died and Mary was very sad.
‘She didn’t understand how it could have happened. Jesus was such a good man. He had cared for children, he had shown love to all sorts of people, he had healed the sick and he had taught everyone so much about God. How could anyone have wanted to hurt him? But they had. Yesterday, he had been killed, his body laid in a tomb and a big, heavy stone rolled in front of the entrance. It had been a terrible day and Mary hadn’t slept a wink all night. She had such sadness in her heart. She had to go to the tomb. She had to be near Jesus even though he was dead.
‘Early in the morning, when there was still no one stirring, she left her house and made her way to the graveyard. What a shock awaited her! The big stone had been rolled away. She peeked inside the tomb and saw that there was no one there. Mary sat down on the ground, exhausted with grief. Where was Jesus? Where was her special friend? She began to cry with great, racking sobs. This was all too much.
‘A man approached her quietly. Mary thought that he was the gardener.
‘“What’s wrong?” he asked kindly. “Why are you so upset?”
‘“Oh, sir,” Mary replied, not even looking up. “They have taken my Lord and I don’t know where to find him.”
‘“Mary!” the gentle voice said.
‘Mary recognized that voice. It couldn’t be! She lifted her head. It was! It was Jesus!
‘“Yes, Mary,” Jesus smiled. ‘It’s me, I’m alive again!”
‘Mary whooped for joy, laughing through her tears, and then she took off! Down the hillside she ran, as fast as her legs would carry her, to wake everyone up and tell them the wonderful news that their friend Jesus was alive!’
Time for reflection
Ask the children to think about the story. Ask them what they understand about the meaning behind Easter eggs.
Listen to a range of responses.
Explain that Easter eggs are symbols of the Easter story. Eggs represent new life, so they remind us of the new life that Jesus had when Mary met him outside the tomb. The egg also represents the stone that was rolled away from the entrance to Jesus’ tomb.
Thank you for sending your son, Jesus.
Like Mary, we are so glad that he rose again and is alive today.