Sunday, 23 March 2008


Eaten you Easter eggs yet?

It's fascinating to think that long before the egg became the symbol of Easter it was a symbol of fertility and the rebirth of the earth in Spring following the long burial of winter.

Festivals and rituals marking the Spring equinox were celebrated by the Egyptians, Persians, Chinese, Romans and Gauls and part of those rites of spring involved the giving and receiving of dyed and painted eggs.

Among the many traditions concerning eggs was that of burying an egg under the foundations of buildings to keep evil at bay and pregnant which doubtless has the same origin as the French ritual which required a bride to step upon an egg before crossing the threshold of her new homes.

Christianity took this ancient symbolism and reworked it to represent the rebirth of the mankind, rather than the earth. So, the folk-tales and legends began...

Old Polish legend concerns the Virgin Mary. It tells of how Mary gave eggs to the soldiers at the Cross. She wept as she begged them to be less cruel and her tears fell upon the eggs, spotting them with splashes of brilliant colour.

Another Polish legend tells how, when Mary Magdalen went to the garden tomb to anoint the body of Jesus early on the first Easter morning, she was carrying a basket of eggs in order that she would have something to eat. Arriving at the empty sepulchre, she uncovered the eggs and found that, miraculously, the pure white shells were now rainbow-coloured.

However you are celebrating this ancient festival
(and even if you're not)



Boll Weavil said...

Its interesting that all these festivals are built on each other.I noticed the usual 'Easter is a pagan festival' brigade on the BBC website again this year.I don't have a problem with that and I'm sure they'll be millions of website readers who are also pagans practicing their rictuals - not ! I don't see this in anyway invalidates the festival as a time of Christian celebration though, as the 'new' ceremonies were usually put on top of the old to ensure continuity.I don't actually believe Jesus was born on the 25th December but I still enter into the spirit on that day every year.Afterall, if he was found to have come along in June, who would want Christmas then ? There's far too many other things going on.I think the same with Easter.It may be only history that dictates the date we celebrate but it seems very relevant as the Earth is about to be reborn at the same time...perhaps there's a hint of the Pagan in me as well...

Brian Sibley said...

In us all.

Brian Sibley said...

GILL comments...

Happy Easter!

Not an Easter comment but an interesting egg fact.

Did you know that the Charles Bridge in Prague [built 1357 and still going strong] is said to have withstood 600 years of wear and tear because egg yolks were mixed with the original mortar?

There is probably a moral here for modern builders