3 April, 2021
While last weekend we had Holi; this weekend, we have Good Friday and Easter coming up. On Sunday, it will be time for mass, celebrations, Easter lunch. What most kids look forward to at Easter are the Easter Bunny and the Easter Eggs. The colourful Easter eggs are a big draw for the kids, and they love to gorge on them. But, when did Easter eggs become a part of the Easter tradition and is there any specific significance? There are various interesting theories in different countries around the origin of Easter eggs. All of them are equally interesting to know, and whatever the story we go by, Easter eggs are such a lovely sight to see and devour as well!
There is a belief among some cultures that Easter eggs are linked to Easter bunnies, a mythical mammal that is considered the symbol of life and fertility. It was said that the rabbit used to lay coloured eggs and would deliver these to well-behaved children on Easter day as a gift. This is mostly credited to the German traditions, and it is said that they brought it to America and then spread it to other cultures. In earlier days, children would create a nest for the bunny to deliver the eggs and even leave carrots. The tradition later developed to include decorated baskets of baked confectionery eggs to children as gifts.
Today the widely believed concept is that the Easter eggs are a symbol of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Eggs have always been believed to be a symbol of life, even in many ancient cultures. There is an ancient saying that also says that life comes from an egg. Also, Easter falls in Spring, which usually symbolizes the birth of new life as flowers start blooming and animals give birth during this time.
Another story linked to Easter eggs suggests that it is linked to Lent, the period of solemn religious observance that begins on Ash Wednesday and the night before Easter Sunday. Since eggs were not eaten during this period, they used to be decorated and given to children as gifts. Originally, real eggs were used, and later, they became chocolate or candy-filled baked items to be given as gifts.
Some say this custom arose from the early Mesopotamians and then spread through the Europeans to other countries. There are stories linked to Easter egg with Persia, Jewish traditions, Iran, Egypt, and even Russia. However, it became a Christian tradition after 1610 when the Roman church officially adopted the Easter egg as a symbol of the resurrection of Jesus.
Easter eggs are blessed by the Priest and then distributed among the people in many churches. In some cultures, they even offer Easter eggs to the deceased in the cemetery. In England, traditionally, the boiled eggs were eaten for Easter breakfast. In certain cultures, they use beautifully decorated Easter eggs to decorate the whole house to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus.
In some countries, certain games are also played with Easter eggs. The Easter hug hunt is one of the most popular games played in many countries. The goodies filled eggs are hidden for children to find and keep. Another interesting game played with Easter eggs is egg rolling. Traditionally, they are rolled down the hills, but they are just rolled by children wherever possible in modern times. This gained so much importance that even the White House organizes an egg rolling for the children in its lawns.
In certain parts of England and Europe, egg tapping is played where each player taps their egg with that of others and the one whose egg remains intact till last wins. Some countries even have an egg dance, where the eggs are placed on the dance floor, and people need to dance without damaging them. Thus, the very Easter egg has a lot of interesting stories associated with it. This Easter, either buys or bake or decorate a few eggs and enjoy your Easter eggs.
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