Easter beauties

by Betty Wrenn Day - Posted on Apr 20, 2011 - 05:58 PM

Photo: To achieve such an array of homemade Easter eggs both small and large, look step-by-step at the hands of the ladies who are making them. Photo by Betty Wrenn Day.

To achieve such an array of homemade Easter eggs both small and large, look step-by-step at the hands of the ladies who are making them. Photo by Betty Wrenn Day.

The term Easter comes from Eostre, the Anglo-Saxon goddess of spring to whom the month of April was dedicated; it has not always been celebrated as it is today. Now it is well known that Easter is a Christian celebration of Christ’s rising, but do you know why and how the egg, in one form or another, became so associated with this holiday?

First, we have to keep in mind that the egg has been a symbol of creation for hundreds of years. Easter comes in spring, the season when the earth renews itself after a long hard winter. With the emergence of spring the earth bursts forth and is reborn, according to Pagan times. Then the egg became the symbol of hope. The pagans began exchanging eggs as a symbol of creation, new life and a resurrection of nature after winter.

With the birth of Christianity and the celebration of Easter, the egg became a religious symbol. It changed from representing nature’s rebirth to the rebirth of man. By the Middle Ages, decorating and coloring eggs for Easter became the custom in England. A notation in the household accounts of Edward I of England showed an expenditure of eighteen pence for 450 eggs to be gold-leafed and colored as Easter gifts. The first book to mention Easter eggs was written 500 years ago; yet a North African tribe, that had become Christian in a much earlier time, had a custom of coloring eggs at Easter.

By the 17th century people began exchanging egg-shaped toys and by the 19th century, the first chocolate eggs were being made in Europe. It was in this same timeframe that the fabulous enameled and bejeweled Faberge eggs were made for the Russian Czar Alexander, 57 of them.

The English, Germans, Italians, and others who settled America brought their Easter traditions with them, so come Sunday morning children will awaken to see what the Easter bunny has brought. Chocolate-covered eggs are the most favorite basket-filler. And if your name is written on it, that’s something very special.