An egg-citing time of year

Fuzzy bunnies and candy Peeps are starting to appear in the stores, as well as pink plastic grass and wrapped chocolate eggs. And that can mean only one thing: Easter is coming up soon - April 8, to be exact.

Easter and spring always seems to come about the same time. That link is one of the major clues to many of the Easter traditions that seem less than biblical. Indeed, a lot of the Easter customs have to do with the early Christian Church competing with longer-established pagan traditions.

Even the word "Easter" is adopted from the Saxon name for the great goddess Eostre, who oversaw the rebirth of life each spring. The early Church adopted that name with a slight spelling change to represent the rebirth of Christ from the tomb.


But what about all those eggs? Several elements historically united to get us egg-cited about Easter eggs.

The early Church required 40 days of fasting (a practice still followed by many during Lent) to remember the suffering of the world and Christ. Not only was meat forbidden but so were dairy products, which was defined as any food stuff taken from an animal without shedding blood, such as milk, cheese and eggs.

While people were fasting, the cows and chickens were obviously still making milk and eggs, respectively. During those dark times, starvation was ever-present so no one wasted food. Milk was saved by being turned into cheese or butter for use after Lent. And the eggs? You got it - they were boiled.

So now the early Christian had a lot of hard-boiled eggs. If those eggs were dyed wonderful colors, then on Easter morning they would be a great way to start the holiday after sunrise services.

And since the celebrations started right after sunrise, why not color the eggs to reflect all those beautiful colors?

They could satisfy all the members of the community by representing either the rebirth of either Jesus or the goddess herself. That way no one was left with, well, egg on their face.


All that said, let me share with you my favorite way to dye eggs a rainbow of colors: with tissue paper.

Just get out all those odds and ends of pieces that you've been saving that are really too small or torn to use for anything and let's get started.


Hard-boiled eggs
Squares of tissue paper
Spritzer bottle or bowl of water

Dip the egg completely in the water, getting it all wet. Pick up a square of the tissue paper one sheet at a time and lay them around the eggs. Feel free to use different colors and to overlap them.

Spritz any papers that did not absorb moisture from the egg.

Set each egg aside in a bowl and allow the papers to dry out completely. As the papers dry, they will fall off, leaving their beautiful colors behind. The effect is similar to the sunrise if you use the right colors.[[In-content Ad]]