What Is the Legend of the Sand Dollar?

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The legend of the sand dollar holds that when Christ ascended to heaven, he left the sand dollar as a symbol to help the evangelists teach the faith. Physical elements of the sand dollar represent events related to Christ’s life and death.

On the top of the shell, a star is clearly visible. It represents the Star of Bethlehem that led the Wise Men to the manger when Christ was born. Around the star is the outline of the Easter lily, a symbol of Christ’s resurrection. The sand dollar has four holes surrounding a center hole. The four holes represent Christ’s wounded hands and feet after his crucifixion, and the center hole represents his side, pierced by the Roman centurion. On the back of the sand dollar is an outline of the poinsetta. Finally, breaking open a sand dollar reveals five “doves” (bird-shaped fragments within the mollusk) that represent the peace and joy Christ left behind.