Eggs have become an indispensable part of Easter celebrations in today’s time. When we hear the word Easter, we immediately associate it with beautifully painted eggs, Easter bunnies and the lip-smacking hot cross buns among other things.
Some traditional activities related to Easter eggs are egg hunts and egg rolling. An egg hunt is primarily for children, it involves hiding eggs outside for kids to find on Easter morning. On the other hand, Egg rolling is of religious significance rather than an activity. It involves the rolling of eggs in a manner which represents rolling away of the stone from Christ’s tomb.
For centuries, Christians have associated the Easter egg as a symbol of Jesus’s resurrection. Eggs dyed in red signify the blood of Jesus Christ that was shed on the cross. The shell of the egg is symbolic of the sealed Tomb of Christ, cracking it represents the Lord’s resurrection from the dead.
For those of you who don’t know, Christians abstain from indulging in eggs and meat during Lent, and the first chance to eat eggs after a long period of abstinence is Easter. Although eggs have become an integral part of Easter celebrations today, the tradition of painting them during springtime pre-dates Christianity.
Here are some probable cultures from which eggs came into being a part of this Christian celebration:
1. Eggs signify new life, fertility and rebirth in various cultures around the world. For over a thousand years, Iranians have decorated eggs on Nowruz (Iranian New Year) which coincides with the spring equinox.
2. It is claimed that, before Christians celebrated the resurrection of Jesus, ancient pagans in Europe observed the Spring Equinox as the return of the Sun God. Hence, the association with Christ’s resurrection from death.
3. An English monk named Venerable Bede, who wrote the first history of Christianity in England, argued that Easter did not have Christian roots. He pointed out that the word Easter was derived from a pagan fertility goddess named “Eostre” in English and Germanic cultures, however, there is little evidence of such a goddess outside of Bede’s writings.
While it is still not clear whether Easter indeed has pagan roots, the Christian community has accepted the celebration as their own.