The beautiful tradition of colouring eggs is laden with meaning. Its history can be traced to the very beginning of creation.
Spring is a flame that took the shape of myths, legends and religions across time. Believers hold it as the reaffirmation of faith. Non-believers cherish charismatic rebirth customs in many of its forms.
In Romania and the Orthodox countries of Eastern Europe, the colouring of eggs at Easter is a family affair immensely popular with children. Grandmothers teach their grandkids how to colour them; mothers, fathers, uncles, ants all participate in gathering the goods and setting up the Easter feast.
Nowadays, tradition is to dunk the eggs in bowls of natural dye or as natural as you can get. Prior to the chemical age, they used onion skin for brown, walnut for black and beet juice for pink. Patterns can be created.
The Christian custom is said to have originated in Mesopotamia and is linked to the Persian new year celebration, Nowruz. But the symbolism goes way back, making it one of the oldest myths.
It is said that the cosmic egg was the soul of primeval waters, the oldest myth of creation, a significant motif found in all parts of the world. In some accounts, the sun itself is a primeval egg emerging from the waters.
In ancient Egypt, eggs were associated with rebirth after death and used to be placed in the graves of notable citizens. Pre-Christian cultures of North Africa exhibit the first accounts of this practice. Ostrich eggs engraved and decorated have been found there and are dated over 60,000 old.
The custom then travels through time; its presence in many different faiths proves how all our beliefs are intertwined.
In Orthodoxy, the eggs are traditionally blessed by the priest at midnight mass. The night of the Holy Saturday marks the end of the Paschal vigil. Right after mass or Sunday morning, before you eat any of them, the custom says you need to crack them. It is a religious cracking symbolizing the opening of the empty tomb of Christ, the proof that all believers need that Christ has risen.
How you display the eggs for the Easter feast can vary quite a bit. Nowadays, there are particular dishes with cup-like dividers, or you can be creative and use boards, dishes and anything that makes a statement. Older folklore has them placed in bowls garnished with wheat as a symbol of the abundance of the year to come.
However you’re celebrating the coming of spring, the spring is here! Let it make you happy.
Images via Dochia Media
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