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Easter means eggs

With Holy Week in full swing and Easter Sunday upon us, now is a great time to ask what eggs have to do with Easter.

With Holy Week in full swing and Easter Sunday upon us, now is a great time to  ask what, if anything, eggs have to do with Easter.

Folks with certain kinds of religious training will remember that eggs are metaphors for Christ’s resurrection from the tomb on Easter.

As a tradition, the decorating and collecting of eggs goes back much, much farther in history and is practiced much more widely in the world than Cristendom knew.

The hiding and hunting of decorated eggs is more recent, and there are several egg hunts and other egg-themed rites on tap this weekend.

Follow the links in the previous sentence to read the details.

Some seasonal folklore

Because spring begins a new growing season, it is associated with birth, rebirth and renewal – spiritual, mental, physical and otherwise.

So as many, many springs festivals grew out of goddess worship, organizers and practitioners took eggs and the female as tropes.

In fact, our word Easter derives from the name Eostra, a German deity whose rites are celebrated at the beginning of spring.

As in other symbolism involving seeding, eggs represent the germs of ideas as well as the medium for growing new life forms.

Ritual blessings are offerings to nature in hopes of a good growing year and abundant crops.

Much is made of balance – life and death, birth and renewal, light and dark – at the vernal equinox on the first day of spring – when day and night are exactly the same length.

Easter eggs, anyone?

The tradition of decorating eggs dates back at least to pre-dynastic Egypt where decorated ostrich eggs where in Neolithic graves.

A common thread through stories about why eggs are decorated is color.

Many cultures use very deep, saturated colors. Not a few use deep red, which, like deep purple, is very hard to achieve without the right dyes:

  • Druids dye eggs deep scarlet, the color of gorse blossoms and madder root, to honor the sun.
  • At sunrise on Easter, Ukranians eat hard-boiled, red-dyed eggs then throw the red shells in rivers as offerings to the gods.
  • In other parts of eastern Europe, red eggs symbolize resurrection and the blood of Christ and are left on graves and placed in caskets.
  • Chinese folk have exchanged scarlet eggs during their spring festival since at least 900 BC.

Another weird egg thing

Arguably the most bizarre spring-time egg tradition is the claim that you can stand a raw egg on end on the vernal equinox.

Or at all.

There are thousands of seemingly reasonable people who claim to have done so with just the right egg on just the right surface on just this day.

And they’ve taken photos to prove it.

There are scientists who claim that fluid balance is easy to achieve with the right materials, and when you think about it, it’s perfectly reasonable that you should be able to balance an object with a liquid center any time you want to.

Get a dozen eggs, and try it for yourself.


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OFFICIAL BIO: K Truitt is a second-generation, native Floridian born in Jacksonville. Truitt worked in public higher education for 25 years and knows newspaper publishing, printing and graphic design. Contact:

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