Originally reported by Guy McCarthy:
Coloring eggs to celebrate spring and Easter is a tradition that predates Christianity, according to some historians.
An egg in its shell is one of nature's perfect packages, and over time it has represented fertility, mystery, magic, medicine, food and omen, according to a history of Easter eggs compiled by the Warwicksire County Council, northwest of London, England.
The egg is the universal symbol of Easter celebrations around the world and has been dyed, painted, adorned and embellished in the celebration of its special symbolism.
Before the egg became closely associated with Christian Easter, it was honored during many rite-of-Spring festivals.
Romans, Gauls, Chinese, Egyptians and Persians all cherished the egg as a symbol of the universe, according to historians. From ancient times eggs were dyed, exchanged, and shown reverence.
In Pagan times the egg represented the rebirth of the earth. The long, hard winter was over, the earth burst forth in spring and was reborn just as the egg miraculously burst forth with life.
The egg, therefore, was believed to have special powers:
- They were buried under foundations of buildings to ward off evil.
- Pregnant young Roman women carried an egg on their persons to foretell the sex of their unborn children.
- French brides stepped upon an egg before crossing the threshold of their new homes.
With the advent of Christianity the symbolism of the egg changed to represent, not nature's rebirth, but the rebirth of man. Christians embraced the egg symbol and likened it to the tomb from which Christ rose.
Here are some tips from wikiHow on preparing and painting eggs, for first-timers and the experienced.
- Buy a half dozen to a dozen eggs at the grocery store, or collect them fresh from your chickens. Also buy an egg-decorating kit, if you don't have the essentials left over from last year.
- Dress to make a mess and prepare the egg-decorating area for a mess.
- Hard-boil the eggs by placing them in a saucepan with a pinch of salt and covering with water. Bring to a boil and then reduce to simmer. Keep your egg cartons for storage or for making more decorations.
- Simmer the eggs at least 10 minutes and then lift the eggs out carefully with a spoon or tongs. Place them under cold running water until they are cool enough to handle, at least a minute, and cool completely on a rack in the refrigerator before using.
- Your egg-decorating kit may consist of several dye pellets, color-coded cups, an egg spoon, and directions.
- Follow the directions on the on the kit carefully. In most cases, you'll work with water, vinegar, or a combination of the two. Keep extra water nearby.
- Get creative: Try covering parts of an egg with tape, stickers or rubber bands to color different parts of the egg and leave other parts uncolored. Keep plenty of newspapers handy as well.
The best part about decorating your eggs on Saturday or Easter Sunday is you know your eggs are fresh, and you'll have no rotten eggs to spoil the fun.