The Origin of Eggs for Easter
For many of us, Easter is synonymous with pastel colours, bunnies and… eggs. But why eggs? What’s the connection between Easter and Eggs?
The connection between eggs and Easter has a long tradition, one that harks back to pre-modern times. For centuries, and across cultures, eggs were seen as a symbol of rebirth and of fertility. This link between eggs and rebirth has been regarded as a key link between the religious background of Easter and the physical symbol of eggs. Easter celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and eggs are associated with rebirth, and serve as a symbol of the tomb and the resurrection. This has led some historians to believe that this is how practices involving eggs for Easter started.
Some historians believe that the use of eggs for Easter may have pagan roots, as in the Northern Hemisphere, Easter falls in the Spring season, a time for renewal and growth, and which was celebrated with eggs.
Many Easter traditions rely on eggs- generally chicken eggs- decorating them with paint or dye, hiding them, or enjoying chocolate in the shape of eggs. While the common practice is to use Chicken eggs to decorate or hide, modern-day lore dictates that Easter Eggs come from the Easter Bunny, who delivers the eggs to children around the world. The story of the Easter bunny or Easter rabbit originated with a German folktale figure, the Osterhase, a German hare that could lay eggs. This morphed into the cute and cuddly Easter Bunny that is used to represent Easter celebrations across the world.
Eggs are commonly decorated for Easter, with some cultures sticking to a signature colour, like red, or using a wide variety of colours and patterns to decorate eggshells. In the Orthodox Church, eggs were dyed red as a symbol of Jesus’ blood. These eggs are commonly hidden for children to hunt and find as part of the celebrations and are also used as decoration.
No matter the origin of using eggs at Easter, this tradition has long persisted and will likely remain an important part of Easter celebrations for generations to come!