It’s good Saturday, and it is a good day to explore the history of Easter eggs!
If you know about Western culture, you must have come across Easter eggs; they are usually colourful eggs or egg-shaped chocolates which are exchanged during this season. You may even see them on Easter e-fliers or gift cards.
Easter is a Christian celebration where the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is remembered and reflected upon. If anything should be used as a symbol for the celebration, it should be a wooden cross (Jesus was killed on a wooden cross) and not eggs. So, where did the egg tradition come from and what is its significance? Keep reading to find out…
The celebratory eggs
Since prehistoric times, eggs have been used as a symbol of restoration and new life. A bird lays eggs to bring forth new life, hence the correlation. This traditional view was widespread, especially in Europe and Asia.
According to the Christian faith, Jesus’ death and resurrection signifies the beginning of a new life, therefore, early Christians in Mesopotamia adopted the ancient tradition and started to use eggs as a symbol of Easter.
The egg signifies the tomb where Jesus was buried; the cracking of the egg signifies Jesus’ reawakening from death and the emergence of a new superior life.
Why coloured eggs?
It is difficult to ascertain when exactly colouring eggs became part of the Easter celebration, but historians suggest that Early Christians started to dye eggs around the Middle Ages.
One school of thought claims that Christians started to paint eggs as a way of identifying ‘holy eggs’. In the early days of the church, and even up till now in the Roman Catholic tradition, eating of meat and eggs is prohibited for some days in the Holy week (the week leading up to Easter). So, Christians started to paint the eggs laid during the Holy Week to signify their holiness.
Another school of thought proposes that the painting of Easter eggs started out when Christians started to paint them red to signify the blood of Jesus Christ that was shed on the cross.
Whichever way, one thing is certain: although the use of eggs as a symbol of new life predated Christianity, the painting of Easter eggs originated from Christians.
The Easter egg today
Like almost everything else, the tradition of the Easter egg has evolved over the centuries. Most of the Western world now exchange chocolates shaped as eggs instead of real eggs during Easter.
Some even gift one another egg-shaped plastics which are filled with candy. Nonetheless, some regions of central Europe and Asia still use real eggs till date.
A word from Healthfacts
We hope you learnt interesting new facts from this article? From all of us at HealthFacts, we hope you enjoy a lovely Easter celebration.
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