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Origins of Easter eggs

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The Easter egg is a Christian symbol, specially decorated for the holiday, and usually remaining edible. Traditionally it is a colorful hard boiled chicken egg, now it is often an sugar or chocolate egg. In Belgium, as in France, it is a traditional gift given on the morning of Easter Sunday. In Switzerland, England or the United States, Easter symbol is a hare. In the countries of Eastern Europe the eggs are stained and decorated.


Vasnetsov_Maria_Magdalene(Mary Magdalene showing the red egg, symbol of resurrection, by Vasnetsov.)

The egg is a mythological motif present in the story of the creation of many cultures and civilizations. For example, in the Kalevala, a book of great Finnish tradition, the world is born from the egg. The custom of giving decorated eggs long predates Christianity. Decorated ostrich eggs dating back 60,000 years having been discovered in southern Africa. Ostrich eggs painted with geometric, animal or plant motifs, are found in graves in Sumer or ancient Egypt. In the Celtic religion were offered eggs painted with goddess Eostre, who gave his name to Easter in Anglo-Saxon countries.

Judaism also sees it as a symbol of the life cycle; these days, hard-boiled egg is still part of the meal of mourning, and the Passover seder. In Christianity, the eggs symbolize the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the grave as the chick hatches from the egg. An orthodox legend says Mary Magdalene would have gone to reproach the Emperor Tiberius Jesus’ death and announce his resurrection. Faced with the skepticism of it, the egg she was holding would then dyed red.

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