Easter eggs are an integral part of the Easter festival and symbolize the empty tomb of Jesus. Easter eggs are also known as Paschal eggs. The eggs are decorated and given to celebrate Easter or Spring. From the old tradition of giving painted or dyed chicken eggs to the modern ones of of plastic eggs comprising confectionery of chocolate eggs, the Easter eggs have undergone various changes over the years.
The concept of using decorated eggs date back to many centuries. In the ancient Egypt and the early cultures of Mesopotamia and Crete, decorated eggs of the ostrich and symbols of the ostrich egg in silver and gold were put in the graves of Egyptians and the Sumerians in ancient times. It was among the early Mesopotamian Christians that the custom of Easter eggs began. The custom was officially adopted by the Christian Church which regarded the egg as a symbol of Jesus' resurrection.
The Easter egg is the central part of the Easter celebrations and has a lot of significance. There are many Christians who connect the opening of the Easter egg with Jesus' empty tomb. In Orthodox churches, the priests bless the Easter eggs at the conclusion of the Paschal vigil. Thereafter, they are distributed among the faithful. Women in Greece dye the eggs with vinegar and onion skins. There is also an Orthodox tradition of greeting friends Easter wishes by presenting them red colored eggs.
On Easter shops are full of embellished Easter eggs. Decorated Easter eggs are mainly presented to family and friends as a form of greetings. However, every nation has its own customs regarding Easter eggs. In the European nation of Germany, people exchange Easter eggs on Thursday rather than on Sunday, which happens to be Easter. Easter eggs attain their color by dyeing them in natural and food coloring. In Lebanon, people boil the egg and then decorate them with dye or paint them. These eggs are then used to decorate the house. In some countries such as Ukraine, Serbia, Greece, Bulgaria and Macedonia, Easter eggs are painted in red color. There is also a tradition of hitting the other person's egg with one's own. The game is played among family and friends and those whose eggs do not break will have good luck. In Goa, a state in India, Easter eggs are made with Marzipan, a Goan Catholic dish.
There are many ways to embellish Easter eggs. People use both traditional as well as modern ways to beautify eggs. However, for those who do not have painting skills, there are various hues of Easter egg wraps available in the market. It is easy to wrap these around the egg and beautify it. Many people also make a wreath of Easter eggs and hang it on their doorway or porch. But this is done by using plastic eggs and not the real eggs. Real eggs are fragile and may break easily.
In many European nations, especially Britain, chocolate Easter eggs are the most popular gifting item. These scrumptious eggs are also a major revenue earner as kids and adults alike love them. A whopping 80 million eggs are sold on Easter in Britain. Apart from the chocolate shape, the chocolate eggs also come in the shape of a bunny rabbit.
There are many traditions and games that have come to be associated with the Easter eggs.
The Egg Hunt is one of the most popular games that is played on Easter. Eggs, which may be hard boiled or made of chocolate, are hidden at various places and the participants have to find them. When the game is over, the participant who gathers the largest number of eggs gets the prize.
This game is very popular in countries like United Kingdom, Germany and others. Earlier, eggs were rolled down hillsides by children. However, with time the game spread and is very popular today. The Easter Egg Roll, which is held on the lawn of the White House, is the modern version of the game.
The egg tapping is a very exciting game. Every player is given a hard boiled egg and he or she has to hit the other one's eggs with their own. The person who holds the last intact egg is declared the winner of the game.
This is a traditional game and originated in Germany. Eggs are placed on the floor and the participants have to dance around them; however, the eggs should not be damaged.
Fabergé firm created the jeweled Easter eggs for the Russian tsars. These are considered as masterpieces with many of them containing within them other decorations such as miniature ships etc. In countries such as Russia, Poland, Bulgaria, etc artificial eggs are made out of porcelain. These are made for ladies.
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Last Updated: 15th March, 2017