The Easter Egg's Symbolism and Meaning
One of the traditional symbols of Easter and springtime has been the decorated Easter egg. Fun is had by all ages boiling, dyeing, and coloring the eggs all sorts of wild and crazy colors all to celebrate the warmth and rebirth of spring. While Easter egg hunts have been attached to the Christian holiday of Jesus' resurrection, traditions of decorated eggs go back much further. Here are some of the earliest traditions associated with nature's perfect food.
Eggs have had meanings of fertility and rebirth from ancient civilizations such as Chinese and Roman traditions. As Christ rises in the spring, so do hens begin to lay eggs when it is warm enough. The innocent Lamb of God has also become the innocent un-hatched egg is its purist form.
In Pagan traditions, the egg has come to symbolize the sun. Ukrainian pagan traditions used eggs as a symbol of warmth to light up the kitchen as the yolk was a warm sun starting the spring over again. Egyptians used eggs to symbolize fertility and pregnancy in women when writing and carving hieroglyphics.
History with Easter
In early Christianity eggs were forbidden to be eaten during the season of Lent leading up to Easter day so celebrants would commonly crack open eggs to celebrate the holiday. Decorating the eggs is a pagan tradition as a way to cast magical powers into the eggs. The Chinese would color eggs red as a symbol of long life and prosperity as a gift on birthdays.
Presenting a basket of eggs on Easter Sunday is synonymous with breaking the fast of eating the eggs. As a symbol of spring, it also meant that hens started laying eggs again. So churchgoers used to sit down and eat eggs as part of a meal on Easter.
Easter Egg Rolls
Modern day Easter eggs are of course hard-boiled and even plastic. The President of the United States even gets involved with the holiday with an annual Easter Egg Roll on the White House lawn every year before Easter.
Easter egg rolling on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol Building goes back to Andrew Johnson in the 1870s. When busy Congressmen saw this they passed a law banning the egg roll on the lawn of the Capitol. President Rutherford B. Hayes then allowed the egg rollers onto the White House lawn since Congress has disallowed the fun. The Easter egg roll has been an annual tradition except in bad weather and during World Wars I and II.