Easter eggs, also called Paschal eggs are decorated eggs that are often given to celebrate Easter or springtime. Easter eggs are common during the season of Eastertide. The oldest tradition is to use dyed and painted chicken eggs, but a modern custom is to substitute chocolate eggs, or plastic eggs filled with confectionery such as chocolate. Eggs, in general, were a traditional symbol of fertility, and rebirth. The practice of decorating eggshells is ancient, predating Christian traditions. The Christian custom of the Easter egg, can be traced as far back as the early Christians of Mesopotamia, who stained eggs red in memory of the blood of Christ.
The Easter egg tradition may also have merged into the celebration of the end of the privations of Lent in the West. Historically, it was traditional to use up all of the household’s eggs before Lent began. Eggs were originally forbidden during Lent as well as on other traditional fast days in Western Christianity. In the Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Churches, Easter eggs are dyed red to represent the blood of Christ, shed on the Cross, and the hard shell of the egg symbolized the sealed Tomb of Christ – the cracking of which symbolized his resurrection from the dead.
Easter Eggs Meanings
Brightly decorated eggs, Easter egg rolling and Easter egg hunts have become integral to the celebration of Easter today. However, the tradition of painting hard-boiled eggs during springtime pre-dates Christianity. In many cultures around the world, the egg is a symbol of new life, fertility and rebirth. For thousands of years, Iranians and others have decorated eggs on Nowruz, the Iranian New Year that falls on the spring equinox. Some claim that the Easter egg has pagan roots. even the word Easter is said to have to come to us 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.
For Christians, the Easter egg is symbolic of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Painting Easter eggs is an especially beloved tradition in the Orthodox and Eastern Catholic churches where the eggs are dyed red to represent the blood of Jesus Christ that was shed on the cross. Easter eggs are blessed by the priest at the end of the Paschal vigil and distributed to the congregants. The hard shell of the egg represents the sealed Tomb of Christ, and cracking the shell represents Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. Moreover, historically Christians would abstain from eating eggs and meat during Lent, and Easter was the first chance to eat eggs after a long period of abstinence.