Easter reminds us of so much from Cadbury Eggs (eat a couple for me) to Sunrise services, from rabbits to crosses. I thought about writing and pointing out some of the customs and folk practices that have blended into the celebration of Jesus’ gift to us on the cross, but saying the Easter Bunny isn’t Christian is so tired. However, there is something Christian within the egg. I got to thinking about this as we painted eggs yesterday. All I could think of was the Sunday school story about the Legend of the Easter egg. Even though it is not true, it shows how easy it is to point to God with some of the symbols of Easter.
We invited the university students from English Clinic to paint eggs with us this week, something fun as we remembered Easter. Only one girl had ever heard of this before as she was in America last Easter. When she told her sister she was coloring eggs, her sister thought she was crazy and didn’t understand how she would eat them. Painting eggs gave the students something new and intriguing to do as we could introduce them to the real story of Easter. As we were talking about eggs and the traditions we have, I wondered where they came from. I know that it was in the Ukraine that people first painted eggs for Easter, but why?
We all, well almost all, know Easter is not a Christian word, and that there were pagan traditions involved with the original Easter holiday. However, there was never any proof that the egg was part of any pagan traditions.
In many ancient cultures eggs represented new life because they hold the potential for life. New life lay dormant in the egg. Many cultures used eggs to symbolize new life in their spring celebrations. With this rich history, it is easy to see why Christians also adopted it as a symbol for Easter. The Orthodox Church sees the egg as a symbol of the resurrection. There are folk tales about the real Easter egg story, giving them a Christian twist. With this history and Christian connections, we should not be afraid to paint eggs and have fun with them. Instead, we should have fun with the eggs and let them remind us of the life we have eternally with Christ.
For more information about the history of Easter eggs, visit this site.