Decorating with the Glorious Easter Lily

A lily, which springs from a humble bulb, is both majestic in its trumpet shape and humble in the way it hangs its head.

By Noelle Mering

Robust, Pinterest-worthy Easter decorating has never come naturally to me. I’m not a baker, there are no porcelain bunnies adorning our Easter table, and, to my embarrassment, we’ve never even done much in the way of egg-dying.

Obviously, we can and should delight in what delights our children, (hence I really do need to just get some egg dying in!) but intentionally incorporating what we love will more naturally communicate its lovableness, and help stave off the feeling of burden that the holidays can sometimes engender in our beleaguered parenting hearts.

Because I’m a little spartan in some of the more specific holiday trappings, I allow myself to go a little overboard with a preferred Easter tradition in our house: flowers! Any species will do, but lilies might be the most fitting.

There’s a rich tradition of meaning behind their association with Easter. A lily springs from a humble bulb, is able to withstand harsh conditions, has healing properties, bears fruit, and is both majestic in its trumpet shape and humble in the way it hangs its head.

Legends abound connecting lilies to both Our Lady and our Lord. Often called white-robed apostles of hope, lilies are said to have sprung up from Christ’s agony in the Garden of Gethsemane, and filled the empty tomb after His resurrection. Lilies of the valley, according to another legend, are said to have appeared from Mary’s tears at the foot of the cross.

Religious art has depicted the Angel Gabriel offering Mary a branch of lilies at the Annunciation, and the flowers are often used as a symbol of her purity. Having been connected to Hera, an ancient mythological queen of heaven, lilies now stand as a fitting symbol of Our Lady’s true queenly coronation.

  The Annunciation , Anoniazzo Romano (Photo Wikicommons)

The Annunciation, Anoniazzo Romano (Photo Wikicommons)

Even without the rich religious symbolism, it’s hard to find a more universally beloved way to bring beauty into the home.

Many homes will have a bouquet of flowers for any given celebration, but it can be good and right to go beyond that for Easter. There’s something magical about waking up on Easter morning, and each morning throughout the octave, to an abundance of flowers with all of their wild, organic lines throwing into relief all of the straight, controlled rectangles in most homes. 

Rather than just sticking a grocery bouquet as is into a vase, the stems can be cut to fit the vase properly, with any unattractive filler removed. Separating them into multiple vases can give them breathing room. Older kids love to help play around with this, and little kids can be sent on missions to find clippings from the yard from which they can experiment with creating little arrangements for their bedrooms.

Being a highly fragrant flower, lilies can quite powerfully establish evocative childhood memories. Recently my friend brought some flowers home and one of her kids remarked that it smelled like Easter. Smell, being closely connected to what we can call our “emotional brain” can instantly transport us to a memory of when that smell was first introduced to us. So we’re quite effectively establishing beautiful content that’ll last in their imaginations for decades to come.

The soul is nudged by nature to seek her source. It is good to incorporate natural beauty into this season when we celebrate the most miraculous event in history: God made man, rising from death. Having united ourselves to His Cross in Lent, we can now celebrate that He is risen and so might we. Flowers are a simple and small way to help fill our senses in order to enliven our souls to this sublime truth.

Carrie Gress