Eggs have rolling around for a long time.
Our first historical records of egg symbolism in religion date to about 500 BC. in Iran. The Iranian calendar was influenced by Zoroastrianism, and the spring equinox, which was the first day of their calendar year, became a holiday known as Nowruz. This holiday is celebrated today by decorating, sharing and eating eggs. It may have been celebrated similarly in the past, as an ancient carved relief from Persepolis seems to depict noblemen carrying colored eggs.
In Pagan Europe a fertility goddess called Eostre was associated with both rabbits and eggs. Her name gives us both Ostara and Easter. Ostara is the pagan name applied to the celebration of the spring equinox on March 21. Rabbits were rumored to lay eggs his time of year. Eggs were a symbol of life and rebirth and was widely used in spring festivals before its adoption by early Christians as a symbol of the resurrection of Jesus. Egg-rolling contests are a symbolic re-enactment of the rolling away of the stone from Christ’s tomb.
Ukrainians have perfected the decoration of Easter eggs. Images are drawn on eggs with melted wax and dyed repeatedly with many colors. At the end, the wax is melted away and a beautiful egg emerges like magic. You may recall that Max had a Promise Tree event last year to make Pysanky, the proper name for these eggs. Superstitions abound around pysanky. A girl would often give one to young man they fancied, and include heart motifs, much like a valentine. It was said, though, that a girl should never give her boyfriend a pysanky that has no design on the top and bottom of the egg, as this might signify that he would soon lose his hair. If you add one to a hen’s nest it will encourage her to lay more eggs. Pysanky were thought to protect households from evil spirits, catastrophe, lightning and fires. The egg LuAnn made last year at Max’s class exploded in her kitchen, so I don’t know what to say about that.
In Greece on Holy Thursday, eggs are traditionally dyed a deep red color. They are used for decorating Easter breads and the home. Beets were used in the old days to get the bright red color which represents the blood of Christ. I have added a recipe for making your own Easter Bread to the Recipe Box.
~Researched by Max.