The most prominent symbol of Easter is the cross. The Roma cross was a torture device. It was one of the most gruesome and painful means of executing criminals. The cross represents Christ’s willing sacrifice and his triumph over sin and death (See Matthew 27:32-56; Mark 15:21-41; Luke 23:26-49; John 18:39-19:37).
The empty tomb and rolled away stone are also important symbols of Easter. They are reminders of that Christ is alive (See Matthew 28:1-20; Mark 16:1-13; Luke 24:1-49; John 20:1-29).
The lamb is a representation of Christ. The sacrificial system established in the Old Testament (See Leviticus 4) was a foreshadowing of Christ and the cross. Christ was also referred to as the Lamb of God (See John 1:35).
Sunday is also significant. Christ died and was buried on Friday and rose again on the third day or Sunday. Due to Jewish custom the bodies of those crucified had to be removed prior to the observance of the Passover and the Sabbath. According to Jewish tradition the day begins at sundown and not sunrise.
The lily which is traditionally used to decorate churches is also a symbol of purity. It is signifies the resurrection of Christ (1).
The colors associated with Easter are also symbolic. White represents purity, purple royalty and green new life.
The custom of the Easter sunrise service can be traced to the account in Luke 24:1-12 of the women going to the tomb early in the morning on the first day.
The palm branch while used on Palm Sunday and not Easter is closely related to Easter. Palm Sunday is a reminder of the Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem prior (See Luke 19:28-40). Notes:(1.) Hallmark Archives, “Easter Symbols, Icons, Legend, Lore and Customs” http://pressroom.hallmark.com/ easter_symbols.htm
Via Dolorosa/Old Rugged Cross by Sandi Patty