Saturday, March 22, 2008

Easter Gifts

Ok when did Easter become like Christmas or birthdays. My boys told me the other day their Easter List. I immediately said what Easter List? I told them Easter is more than just candy eggs and toys. I told them the story of Easter and then I decided to research how the Easter egg became the universal symbol, here is what I found....
Eggs and Easter have almost become synonymous.
But what is so special in an egg?

It is the influence of the traditional spring rites that made Easter so egg-special. And myths coming down to us from an incredibly distant past have shown man's relationship with the egg to be very deep seated one. This is caught in old Latin proverb: Omne vivum ex ovo. This means "all life comes from an egg". Not just the Latin saying, eggs are just laid well over all corners of the world. From ancient India to Polynesia, from Iran, Greece, and Phonecia to Latvia, Estonia, and Finland, from Central America to the west coast of South America, there are reports of myths of the whole universe created out of an egg. Thus, it is not unusual that in almost all ancient cultures eggs had been held as an emblem of life.

In Europe an egg was hung on New Year trees, on Maypoles, and on St. John's trees in midsummer. Indeed, all meant egg as a symbol of the regenerative forces of nature. Later during the Christian period, it was believed that eggs laid on Good Friday, if kept for a hundred years, would have their yolks turn to diamond. If Good Friday eggs were cooked on Easter they would promote the fertility of the trees and crops and protect against sudden deaths. And, if you would find two yolks in an Easter egg, be sure, you're going to be rich soon. That's
what they believed!

Eggs were said to be dyed and eaten at the spring festivals in ancient Egypt, Persia, Greece, and Rome. The Persians of that time gave eggs as gifts at the Vernal Equinox. But it is not very clear how those colored eggs have come in to dominate The Easter Basket. In fact, they have become so popular with the Easter celebration, that they even started to dominate the ancient concepts of the symbolism of eggs. It is speculated that it was introduced in Europe, or, rather Western Europe, during the course of the fifteenth century. This was when missionaries or knights of the Crusades are thought to have brought in the concept of the coloring of eggs westwards.

In medieval times there was a superstition: the church bells which had not been heard since Holy Thursday had been to Rome for the Pope's blessings and returned on Easter Eve with colored eggs for everyone. Many of the eggs were dyed red. Red was in memory joyous Easter celebration. Or it was to honor the blood that Christ shed. During the strict Lenten fast of forty days no eggs were eaten.

No comments:


Related Posts with Thumbnails