The Mystery Behind Easter Eggs
There are many folklore and myths associated with egg symbolism. For example, the story goes that if eggs were laid on Good Friday and kept for a hundred years, the yolks would turn to diamonds. There’s another story that goes: if someone finds two yolks in an Easter egg, she or he will be wealthy. Embraced by many religious traditions, the egg actually symbolizes both new life and regenerative forces of nature. And the traditions that we now have for Easter are actually from centuries ago. Listed below are just a few examples.
Egg Symbolism in History
- Ancient Greeks, Chinese, Egyptians, and Romans celebrated the arrival of spring by feasting on eggs as a symbol of fertility and new life.
- The Saxons are responsible for the Easter bunny; the rabbit being the goddess Eastre’s earthly symbol.
- In Europe, eggs are hung on New Year trees, on Maypoles, and on St. John’s trees in midsummer to symbolize the regenerative forces of nature.
- During Medieval Ages, Christians were forbidden to eat eggs during Lent, and they were consumed only after the fasting period. On Easter, consumption of eggs resumed and hence, eggs are viewed as prized gifts for children!
The History of Easter Egg Traditions
- Easter baskets were originally made to look like birds’ nests.
- It was believe that if Good Friday eggs were cooked on Easter, they would promote crop fertility and protect people from sudden deaths.
- In Orthodox tradition, friends are presented with a red-colored egg as an Easter greeting (symbolic of “Christ is risen”). The red symbolizes the blood of Christ, the egg is a symbol of Resurrection, and in it contains a new life. By the way, it is also the most popular jelly bean flavor and color!
- Easter Bunny’s magical ability to lay candied eggs originated from German immigrants.
Today, eggs are used during Easter as a celebration of friends, family, and the renewal of spring! Decorating eggs with patterns and colors have evolved into gift-giving as tokens of friendship, good wishes, and love. Games are devised around the egg such as egg hunts, egg rolls (pushing an egg along with a spoon on flat ground), and egg dumping (striking or throwing hardboiled eggs at each other until a winner is determined with the last intact egg).
Whatever the tradition may be, make it a fun and special ritual around this wonderful symbol.