A Short History of Easter Eggs | SantaFe.com
easter eggs

Easter is a day officially devoted to eggs. From egg-dying and egg-hunting to chocolate eggs, speckled malt eggs and those lovely little sugar eggs with a tiny window into a pastoral scene, Easter is all about the egg.

Maybe because eggs are an ancient symbol of fertility and an emblem of the re-birth of spring. As early as 5,000 BC, eggs were exchanged as a sign of friendship during spring equinox festivals, colored, blessed, gifted and eaten as part of the rites of spring. The ancient Zoroastrians painted eggs for Nowrooz, their New Year celebration, held on the spring equinox and eggs were forbidden during Lent in the early Christian era, making them all that more desirable when the 40 days of fasting were over. The Christians adopted the egg as a symbol of the resurrection of Christ, who rose from a sealed tomb in the same way a bird breaks through an eggshell at birth

In Russia, during the rule of the tsars from the 1880s until 1917, Easter was celebrated with more fanfare than Christmas, featuring Easter breads and other foods as well as decorated eggs exchanged as gifts. The royal families often gave jeweled eggs made by goldsmith Carl Faberge.

In Germany, Easter eggs are blown to empty them out, and the shells are painted and decorated with pieces of lace, cloth or ribbon and hung with ribbons on an evergreen or small tree, which village girls used to carry from house to house in Moravia on the third Sunday before Easter. German settlers in America, including those who became known as Pennsylvania Dutch, brought this tradition to America, along with the legend of the Easter bunny who delivers colored eggs to children. Germany also holds an egg dance, in which players dance around eggs placed on the ground trying not to break them.

And right here in New Mexico, we have an old tradition of hiding cascarones, or emptied eggs stuffed with confetti, then breaking them over people’s heads when they are discovered.

 

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