It’s all about the eggs.
From chocolate to dyeing we have a lot of fun with Easter eggs. But why?
Easter eggs’ origin seems to date back to medieval Europe, whether it was the idea of early Christians or rooted in Anglo-Saxon traditions. Anglo-Saxons worshiped the goddess Eastre as they celebrated the spring equinox, which demonstrated nature’s rebirth after a cold, barren winter. They’d usually eat eggs at the festival and would even bury them in the ground to promote fertility among the people. For Christians, Easter eggs symbolized the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Christian missionaries to European countries sought to integrate their Holy Week traditions with these pagan festivals to encourage the locals to convert. They wanted to give these traditions with Easter eggs a new meaning that focused on their beliefs about the resurrection. We might also celebrate Easter with eggs because of the dietary restrictions during the Christian season of Lent. In modern times, church members are supposed to fast during Lent by abstaining from meat and focusing on Easter’s meaning.
The first Easter eggs were not the colorful confections that we see in stores today. Rather, they were dyed and decorated chicken eggs, which symbolize new life. The tradition of decorating eggs is believed to have originated in the Middle East and spread throughout Europe and North America.
The colors of Easter eggs are meant to represent the colors of spring, as well as hope and joy, two emotions closely associated with Easter.
In ancient Egypt, Arabia, Greece, Persia and Rome, eggs were associated with mourning the death of a loved one. As a result of this association, early Christians refrained from eating eggs during Lent, a tradition that persists today.
In 16th-century Germany, the Easter egg chase became a custom. Martin Luther hosted egg hunts for his congregation at the church, where the ladies and children would search for eggs hidden by the men around the grounds. This custom represents the ladies who discovered the tomb empty following Jesus' resurrection. The Easter Bunny — or Easter Hare — would deliver a basket of brilliantly colored eggs as a present for all the good children, concealing them around the home and yard for them to uncover, according to German Lutheran custom.
The future Queen Victoria's mother, who would conceal Easter eggs throughout Kensington Palace, popularized this Easter ritual in England during the 19th century. Victoria and her husband Albert continued the custom when they were adults, concealing eggs for their children on Maundy Thursday, the Thursday before Easter. The eggs were originally hard-boiled and adorned, but in the 1850s, fake eggs became fashionable in London. In the early nineteenth century, chocolate eggs were popular in France and Germany.
The middle class in Europe had more spare income as family life grew increasingly important. After that, the Easter egg hunt became more about family and children than about religious activities. This strategy was also employed by confectionery firms to sell their sweet products. Families nowadays stuff plastic eggs with candy or money and hide them about the home or backyard for their kids to locate.
You've got it now. Now, when you eat your Easter egg this weekend, you'll be able to wow others around you with your understanding of where it originated from.