When did people start decorating Easter Eggs?
Happy Birthday to my Aunt and Happy Easter to you! My family LOVES easter egg hunts, not so much the dying of Easter eggs, though decorating eggs is fun, it's more fun to always beat your siblings at finding eggs. Now, granted, I am the oldest, but also arguably the weakest, but definitely the smartest... so you can decide if it's fair or cheating with me always "winning" at Easter egg hunts.
It does make a person wonder (Ashley) why we're celebrating Easter with decorated eggs though... how did that come about? My friend and I speculated that way back when people celebrated spring time with eggs... makes sense, and then Christianity came along and like many other traditions, people stuck with what they knew, but transitioned over to Christianity, traditions following with them.
Congratulations to us, we are smart cookies (if that surprises you, see intro paragraph). Several cultures and religions use eggs in celebrations, especially when it comes to Spring. Some 2,500 years ago, the ancient Persians, or Zoroastrians, painted eggs for Nowruz, or Persian New Year. Families still dye eggs for the springtime celebration, which kicks off on the vernal equinox. One of the traditional items served during the holiday is kuku sabzi, a frittata loaded with herbs to represent rebirth, and eggs to represent fertility.
It's no secret that religions often borrow from each other, and Easter is no different. It is unknown when Christians adopted the tradition of painting eggs, but it was most likely in the Middle Ages — at least as far back as the 13th century. One of the earliest records is from the year 1290 AD, when England’s King Edward I ordered 450 eggs to be colored (or covered with fancy gold leaf) and given to royal relatives.
Among Christians, Eastern Orthodox were probably the first to color eggs, often draining them of yolk and painting or dying them red to symbolize the blood Jesus shed on the cross. In Germany, people began to paint eggs green the day before Good Friday and hang them on trees... Which may seem weird to hang eggs on trees unless you know we have the German's to thank for the Christmas tree. The people of Ukraine and Poland decorated eggs before the introduction of Christianity, called pysanky, or pisanki, which are done with wax and dye, but also became associated with Easter as the practice spread across Europe.
These days there are infinite ways to decorate eggs. I enjoy all sorts from the kit dyes, to natural dyes and painting with acrylics... but ultimately I like hunting better than decorating on this holiday. What about you and your family? What are your favorite Easter Traditions or egg decorating tips?