Easter colored eggs and a bouquet of white and pink carnations with eucalyptus branches on a soft green background. Festive background.
The Secret Origins Of Decorating Easter Eggs
By Syjil Ashraf and Nico Danilovich
The dyeing and painting of eggs is widely associated with Easter, but it’s a time-honored and international tradition with connections to more religions than just Christianity.
Pagans are often credited with kickstarting the egg tradition, as they celebrated a goddess known as “Eostre” in the springtime, burying or eating eggs to foster fertility.
Christian missionaries reportedly co-opted the holiday's date and customs, and so eggs transitioned from representing new life to specifically symbolizing Christ's resurrection.
In the early days of Christianity, followers in Mesopotamia dyed eggs red for Easter, resembling Christ's blood. The easily-crackable egg shell represented Christ's reopened tomb.
Since Easter falls at the end of Lent, it marked when Christians could resume eating eggs, and the association between the two deepened.
Some began hard-boiling their eggs to safely store them, and decorating them became a way to keep track of which ones were laid during Holy Week (the week preceding Easter).
In the 19th century, Victorians started giving colorful eggs to children to provide some fun, and after the working class followed suit in the 20th century, the rest was history.
Egg-dyeing is still such a popular practice today simply because it’s fun — it’s a family-friendly activity, whether you’re staging an egg hunt or rolling them down a hill.