DECORATING them, eating them, hunting for them, rolling them, giving them, receiving them – Easter wouldn’t be the same for us Brits without eggs.
You may be forgiven for thinking that this is a new fad but in fact it pre-dates Christianity.
For many cultures around the world, the egg is a symbol of new life, fertility and rebirth. Places such as Iran have been decorating eggs on their new year, or Nowruz, for thousands of years.
Some even believe that the Easter egg has pagan roots with claims that even the word ‘Easter’ has evolved from the Norsemen’s Eostur, Eastar, Ostara, and Ostar, and the pagan goddess Eostre, all of which involve the season of the growing sun and new birth.
However, from a Christian perspective, the Easter egg is a symbol of Jesus Christ and his resurrection.
In Eastern European Catholic churches and Orthodox churches, the tradition is to dye the eggs red, which is a representation of the blood of Christ as it was shed on the cross.
They are then blessed by the priest at the end of the Paschal vigil and distributed the congregation. The hard shell of the egg represents the sealed tomb of Christ, whilst the cracking opening of the shell represents Jesus’ resurrection from the dead.
Throughout history Christians would abstain from eating eggs and meat during lent, meaning that Easter was the first chance to eat eggs after a long period of abstinence.
Easter egg hunts and egg rolling are two popular egg-related traditions. An egg hunt involves hiding eggs outside, for children and adults alike to run around and find whereas eggs are rolled in a symbolic re-enactment of the rolling away of the stone from Christ’s tomb.
In the United States, the Easter Egg Roll is a large annual event held at the White House lawn each Monday after Easter.