Friday

History of Easter Eggs

It never fails. Year after year the stores pack their shelves with various items mean to “decorate” an egg. All dressed up for Easter, the plain, white egg you normally have for breakfast or use in your baking becomes a multi-colored, glittery, or tie-dyed work of art.

If you celebrate Easter then you, too, probably purchase dozens of eggs to decorate but do you know why you do it? Is it simply because that’s what your mother did each year because that’s what her mother did? And why does a bunny deliver them?

Though-out history, eggs have been a part of many spring celebrations. Eggs are generally thought of as a symbol of life and Easter is in Spring when new life abounds in the world. The Romans, who believe that “All life comes from an egg” used eggs in their spring festivals and feasts and salted hardboiled eggs were part of Jewish traditions as well.

Pagan beliefs viewed the egg as a sacred symbol and an old fable told of an egg that fell from heaven and hatched the goddess of Fertility, Astarte (Easter). Since then eggs have been found as symbols of new life and fertility in Rome, Northern Europe, China and Japan.

Christians later adopted the use of eggs into their Easter celebrations as the “seed of life” symbolizing Christ’s resurrection. Many different beliefs have been held about the actual use of eggs. It was once believed that eggs laid on Good Friday and cooked on Easter would promote fertility of the trees and crops will protecting against sudden deaths.

Today Easter Eggs have become a central part of Christian Easter celebrations in North America with chocolate Easter eggs, Easter egg hunts and decorating Easter eggs. It is unclear as to the specific reason for decorating eggs, but painted eggs have been part of spring celebrations in many cultures for centuries, each with their own styles and color traditions. Red and version of red have been the most common color in many cultures, symbolizing the blood of Christ.

The most famous Easter egg to date is the first Faberge egg. This small gold egg encased in platinum and enamel was created by Peter Carl Faberge in 1883 as an Easter gift for the Empress Marie of Russia from her husband Tsar Alexander. The egg was gorgeous, and a tradition began with a new egg being designed each Easter. Nicholas II, Alexander’s son, continued this tradition with a total of 57 eggs designed in total.

Today, Easter eggs are generally connected with the Easter Bunny and Easter egg hunts. The Easter bunny came to be part of Easter tradition because rabbits and hares are known for their ability to produce multiple births and that made them a natural choice for the celebration of spring and new life.

For many decades, young children have taken part in Easter egg hunts, searching for colorful eggs laid by the Easter bunny in the grass. Easter egg hunts have become a traditional part of American Easter celebrations, with the Whitehouse and many community churches hosting annual Easter egg hunts each year.


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1 comments:

Lenox Knits said...

I was just wondering on my blog yesterday how eggs became a symbol of easter and now you've answered it for me. Very informative post!

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