Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter eggs

Krystal D'Costa writes in Beyond Ishtar: The Tradition of Eggs at Easter Scientific American/Anthropology in Practice 03/31/2013 about the symbolism of eggs in various mythological traditions and in Christianity:

The Phoenix was adopted as a Christian symbol in the first century AD. It appears on funeral stones in early Christian art, churches, religious paints, and stonework. The egg from which it rose, has become our Easter egg. As with many symbols, the Easter egg has continued to shift. When the Lenten fast was adopted in the third and fourth centuries, observant Christians abstained from dairy products, including milk, cheese, butter, and eggs. In England, on the Saturday before Lent, it was common practice for children to go from door to door to beg for eggs—a last treat before the fast began.

Even the act of coloring eggs is tied to the idea of rebirth and resurrection. While egg decorating kits offer a vibrant means of decorating eggs today, the link between life and eggs was traditionally made by using a red coloring. Among Christians, red symbolizes the blood of Jesus. Among Macedonians, it has been a tradition to bring a red egg to Church and eat it when the priest proclaims "Christ is risen" at the Easter vigil and the Lenten fast is officially broken.


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