Easter Egg History, Customs, Traditions and Images
Easter eggs are a fun Easter symbol and custom.
Before Easter Sunday, families often color hardboiled, hollow, or artificial eggs together, sometimes using special dye kits. Many people get very creative and create Easter eggs of every color of the rainbow. Some companies provide wax pencils so children can write on their eggs. The colored eggs can be used as decoration, given as gifts, or eaten. In some families, the night before Easter, while the household children are sleeping, the eggs are hidden around the house or yard (by a parent, or perhaps even the Easter Bunny!). Then, on Easter morning, the children hunt for the Easter eggs. Today, instead of real eggs, many children hunt for plastic Easter eggs that are filled with candy or another treat.
According to legend, Simon of Cyrene, who carried Jesus' cross for him on Good Friday, was an egg seller. When asked to carry the cross of Christ, Simon left behind a basket of eggs he was going to sell. When he returned, the eggs turned into a multitude of colors. Of course, this story is just a legend, but provides a biblical justification for the tradition of hunting Easter eggs.
Eggs probably became a symbol of Easter not because of Simon of Cyrene, but because eggs are a sign of fertility. Easter is celebrated during the springtime, when many pagan religions celebrated the rebirth and renewal of nature that comes with the spring. Christians celebrate the rebirth and renewal that comes through the resurrection of Jesus during Easter, but likely borrowed some customs and symbols of other religions, including the Easter egg and bunny (also a symbol of fertility).
Early Christians used eggs to symbolize the Easter story, with an empty shell representing the empty tomb after Jesus' resurrection. These eggs were sometimes dyed red to symbolize the blood Jesus shed on the cross, and later other colors. Early Easter egg hunts have been traced to Martin Luther, a key leader of the Protestant Reformation. It is said that Luther held egg hunts where men hid eggs for women and children to find. Their joy upon finding the eggs was meant to mimic the joy felt by the first women who found Jesus' empty tomb.
Updated 02-07-2023 by Elizabeth Craig