For Christians, Easter is the most important celebration of our faith. It marks the resurrection of Jesus and his triumph over sin and death. Easter Eggs have become a popular symbol associated with the holiday. But what is the significance of Easter eggs for Christians?
An Egg-cellent History
Early on in the history of the church, the egg became a powerful symbol for the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Just as a chick hatches from its egg and emerges into new life, Christians believe that Jesus emerged from his tomb on Easter Sunday, having conquered death and bringing new life to all who believe in him.
In many Christian traditions, eggs are also associated with Lent, the 40-day period of fasting and reflection leading up to Easter. During Lent, Christians give up certain foods, including meat and dairy products. Eggs were traditionally included in this group of foods to avoid since they were seen as a rich and luxurious food that should be set aside in favor of more modest fare.
However, while eggs were not being consumed during Lent, chickens were still laying eggs. To keep from wasting the eggs, people would hard boil them and keep them until Easter Day. On Easter Day, they would bring their eggs, along with all of the other foods that would be used for their Easter feast to be blessed by the priest. They would bring all of their food in a basket, where we get the tradition of the Easter basket.
Having your Easter foods blessed was a way of expressing gratitude for the abundance of God’s blessings and also served as a way to sanctify and consecrate the foods that were to be eaten on Easter Sunday. There was even a special prayer prayed over the eggs:
Lord, let the grace of your blessing come upon these eggs, that they be healthful food for your faithful who eat them in thanksgiving for the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you forever and ever. Amen.
Since eggs were a powerful symbol to Christians of the resurrection of Jesus and since they were finally able to eat their eggs on Easter Day, eggs were a central food in the Easter feast. Many traditions were created around eggs: food made with eggs, decorating eggs, egg hunts, and chocolate desserts shaped like eggs to name just a few.
Easter Eggs to Dye For
Decorating Easter eggs is a long-standing tradition in many Christian cultures around the world. Depending on the country, Christians decorate eggs in a variety of ways, including painting, dyeing, and embellishing them with various designs and materials.
One popular way to decorate eggs is to dye them. Depending on the country, specific colors have different symbolic meanings. For example, in the Orthodox Christian tradition, eggs are dyed red to represent the blood of Christ shed for our sins. In other countries, spring colors are used such as green, yellow, and light blue to represent new life.
Eggs can also be painted with intricate designs and patterns often with religious symbols such as crosses. In some cultures, such as in Ukraine, eggs are dipped in beeswax and then etched to create intricate designs before dyeing them. They can also be decorated by carving intricate designs or using a technique called etching. This involves creating a design by removing the shell’s outer layer using acid or a sharp tool. These eggs can be kept for family Easter baskets but are often given as gifts and are highly valued for their beauty and symbolism.
Overall, the practice of decorating eggs for Easter is a way for Christians to celebrate the joy and renewal of the Easter season. The many different colors and techniques used to decorate eggs reflect the long-standing history and rich diversity of Christian cultures around the world.
I still have such good memories of buying PAAS Easter egg-dying kits at the grocery store and then setting up an egg-dyeing station on the kitchen counter. We’d line all of the dyes up and dip our eggs repeatedly until we had the depth of color or the design we were hoping for. That night, my mom would take the dried Easter eggs and place them in our Easter baskets filled with Easter grass and assorted Easter candies. It was always such a joy to wake up and find my Easter basket waiting for me!
If you’d like to incorporate the tradition of decorating eggs in your home, why not try decorating your eggs naturally? You can use vegetable discards or spices to achieve the most beautiful colors! Your children will love being able to make the dyes themselves and you can also try making red eggs which boxed dye kits usually don’t have the dye for.
Recipe for Natural Easter Egg Dyes
Note: The color of the dyes will depend on how concentrated the dye is, what color egg you use, and how many times the eggs are immersed in the dye. You can dye about 4 eggs per cup of dye.
Boiled and cooled white eggs. (You can use any color of eggs but it will change the outcome).
Per cup of water use the following:
1 cup chopped purple cabbage for blue eggs
1 cup red onion skins for red eggs
1 cup yellow onion skins for orange eggs
2 tablespoons ground turmeric for yellow eggs
1 bag Red Zinger tea for lavender eggs
Combine the water and whatever ingredient you are using in a saucepan. Add 1 teaspoon of salt and raise heat to a boil. Turn down heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes. Allow liquid to cool. Once the liquid has cooled, strain. Add one tablespoon of white vinegar to every cup of strained dye liquid. Dip your cooled, boiled eggs into the dye as many times as you want to get the desired color. Brush or rub the dyed eggs with olive oil to get a nice sheen.