Easter is a one of the most important Christian festivals that celebrates the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. This day is also celebrated as it brings to an end the 40 day Lenten period and people celebrate this day with lot of joy. Easter is considered to be a start of the spring season, with flowers springing from their buds and there is a green carpet everywhere you see.
Like any other festival Easter has many traditions and customs that have been followed for centuries. Most of these traditions have been adapted from ancient pagan festivals and traditions. The tradition of the Easter eggs also has its roots in such pagan traditions. The Easter egg tradition is one of the most popular Easter customs and it is very important to know the history of Easter eggs before celebrating the Easter.
Meaning of Easter Eggs
Easter is associated with the egg for centuries, in pagan customs the egg is symbolic of fertility, is also symbolic of the rebirth and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is also said that Mary Magdalene was carrying a basket of eggs for the women who were waiting outside Jesus tomb. On seeing the resurrected Christ, legend has it that the eggs in the basket turned bright red, giving rise to the Easter egg tradition.
In ancient Christian times, the egg was considered as a symbol of new life, just as a chick might hatch from the egg. The egg was a representation of the tombstone on Jesus’ tomb, and the cracking of the Easter egg was symbolic of his resurrection.
History of Easter eggs
In the Medieval Europe; people were prohibited from consuming eggs during the strict forty day Lenten period. This restriction lead to a tradition to use all the eggs lying in the house before the lent, leading to the tradition of pancake day. In many ancient civilizations Ancient Egyptians, Romans and Persians, eggs were considered as a symbol of new life and were extensively used in their spring festivals. In early Christianity, families would hard boil the eggs laid during the lent period to be consumed after the restrictions were lifted. This lead to eggs becoming the main mead during Easter. People would also carry baskets full of Easter eggs to church on Easter morning to be blessed by the priest. These traditions were carried on and the Easter eggs became and main feature in the Easter meals and also became popular as Easter gifts for children’s and other people. These traditions and legends have been attributed to the origin of the Easter eggs and the rise of the Easter egg tradition.
Facts about Easter Eggs:
Easter eggs were considered as the symbol of new life and fertility, it is also considered to be symbolic of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from his tomb when he rose from the dead on the third day.
It is also believed that the mother Mary stood by Jesus cross through the long hours of the afternoon of Good Friday. In Eastern Europe it is said that mother Mary had a basket full of eggs when she set near the cross and it was seen that the eggs became red by the drops of Jesus wounds falling on them and the Romans recall that Jesus said to colour the eggs red to remember his crucifixion.
An interesting fact about the Easter egg is that during the early Christian period it was said that if the eggs were laid on Good Friday and kept for hundred years they might turn to diamonds.
Another interesting legend about Easter eggs is that if Good Friday eggs were cooked on Easter day they would promote fertility of trees and crops surrounding the area and prevent them for sudden dying. It was also believed that if you find two yolks in the Easter egg than it was believed that you will be rich.
The tradition of dying or coloring Easter eggs has been followed for ages. The more well off would gift people eggs wrapped in gold leaf, while the peasants would dye their eggs by cooking them with natural material like leaves and tree bark. People also used different flowers, leaves, insects and wooden chips or sticks to color their Easter eggs.
In Germany during 1880s Easter eggs were used as proof of one’s date of birth. People would dye these eggs with solid colours and with patterns and then would write the names of the person and date of birth and attached to the shell of an egg and this egg was submitted in the court as a identity proof of the person.
It is also believed as per a Polish legend, Virgin Mary gave eggs to the soldiers at Jesus’ cross pleading that they should not hurt or treat her child harshly, it is said that her tears fell on the eggs where they became bright colour spots, leading to the tradition of brightly colored Easter eggs.
According to early European legend, the Easter hare (bunny0 would lay Easter eggs for children who had been good through the year.
There are different Easter egg traditions are also associated with the History of Easter eggs, some of the most common and popular are the Easter egg hunt, gifting decorated Easter eggs to one another on Easter morning, rolling Easter eggs etc.