Traditions - General Info

Easter Eggs, a pagan tradition turned Christian

This page was updated on: Friday, January 10, 2020 at: 6:30 pm

Eggs, a pagan symbol of life and rebirth

Easter Eggs tradition evolved from ancient pagan rites.

Spring is the season when nature awakens, flowers and leaves bud and eggs hatch.

From the earliest times it has traditionally been the symbol life, fecundity and rebirth.

In ancient Egypt and Persia (modern Iran), people dyed eggs to symbolize the renewal of life.

The Celts, for their part, painted them red to pay homage to the sun that triggered seeds germination and therefore life.

Hebrews saw eggs as the symbol of life but also of death.

Jewish Easter or Pesach (Passover) celebrates the beginning of the barley harvest season, the start of the annual agricultural cycle, but also the Exodus out of Egypt and freedom of their nation under the leadership of Moses.

They also consider eggs as a ‘mourning food’ because of its rounded shape that symbolizes the cycle of life.

Christians see Easter Eggs as the symbol of the Christ's Resurrection and His Rising from the grave, in the way of 'a chick emerging from its egg'.

Easter Eggs, a Christian tradition

Until the 17th century, the Church of Rome, forbade people to eat eggs during Lent.

But the problem was that hens had no religious concern - what a cheek! - and kept laying eggs.

So what to do with all their eggs that kept accumulating until Easter?

It is said that Louis XIV ‘invented’ the tradition of painting Easter eggs.

Indeed, the king asked his courtiers to bring him the largest eggs laid during Holy Week.

These eggs were gilded with gold leaf and kept in large baskets.

On Easter Day, the king redistributed the painted eggs to his courtiers!

Common people adopted this tradition and painted hard boiled eggs with natural pigments.

Few people, except very religious families, today abstain from eating eggs during Lent, but they are very keen on the Easter eggs hunt.

However, hen eggs have since become chocolate eggs.

According to Christian tradition, the bells, which have been silent since Holy Thursday, return from Rome on Easter Day to spread the news of Christ’s Resurrection.

On the way they distribute eggs, rabbits, chickens to celebrate this event (all symbols of renewal and fecundity) to celebrate the event.

This gives way to an egg hunt on Eater morning, when chocolate eggs are hidden among flower beds and bushes.

However, painted Easter eggs, more fragile, are used for interior decoration.

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