The Easter Egg depicts believers who have been granted new life in Christ. So, despite its pagan origins, the Easter egg has a very different meaning for us as Christians. So, rather of being sinful, it might be a symbol of remembering what Christ has given us.
The egg, an ancient emblem of fresh life, has long been connected with pagan spring festivities. Easter eggs are thought to depict Jesus' emergence from the tomb and resurrection from a Christian perspective. Two prominent egg-related customs are Easter egg hunts and egg rolling. At an Easter egg hunt, participants use their knowledge of where eggs are hidden to find as many eggs as possible within a specified time limit. The person who finds the most eggs wins.
Eggs have been used in rituals around the world dating back at least 2,000 years. An example is the practice of breaking an egg into pieces during the Easter season in Germany. This ritual is called Eierstocksauce and means "egg stock sauce." People would drink this sauce after Easter Sunday services to celebrate the end of Lent and the beginning of the summer season.
In some European countries, such as Germany and Switzerland, people still eat eggs on Easter Sunday. However, in other parts of Europe, such as Italy and Spain, this tradition has died out.
In Asia, too, eggs play an important role in religious practices. For example, in India, people believe that eating eggs on Easter will make them rich. So even though it's a fasting day, people will often break their fast by eating eggs.
In Africa, eggs are sometimes used in magic rituals.
Easter eggs are said to represent Jesus' emergence from the tomb and resurrection from a Christian perspective. The ceremony has no religious significance, however some have interpreted the egg rolling as a representation of the stone obstructing Jesus' tomb being rolled away, resulting in his resurrection. The custom dates back at least as far as the 16th century.
Christians have adopted the tradition of hiding eggs in their homes during Easter time. If the eggs are found by family members after the holiday is over they are given as a treat for finding them. This practice originated with Christians burying eggs in their yards to indicate that Christ was risen from the dead. Modern versions of this tradition include hiding eggs inside or under the objects of interest in rooms, such as under chairs or tables. Participants can look for these hidden eggs throughout the year because they never disappear once they're hidden.
Some families also hide plastic eggs when they go on vacation, hoping that when they return home they will have been taken by friends or relatives. This is another example of how the tradition of hiding eggs has been extended beyond Easter time.
In some countries, such as Germany, people bake eggs in the shape of rabbits or chicks and give them away for free. This is called "schöpfung" (creation) and indicates that God created us so we wouldn't be alone after our death.
Although eggs were a traditional sign of fertility and rebirth, in Christianity, Easter eggs represent the empty tomb from which Jesus was resurrected at Eastertide. The idea for this custom may have come from an early Christian practice of casting seeds inside eggs as a form of prayer. These prayers were often answered with crops that produced fruit after Easter.
In medieval Europe, it was common practice for landowners to hide eggs in fields to provide amusement for their guests on Easter Sunday. Today, people still find hidden eggs in fields on Easter Sunday; however, they are not always chocolate eggs.
Eggs have been used in religious rituals throughout history. An Egyptian story tells of a king who prayed for a child's life by throwing an egg into the Nile. If it floated, then the prayer was granted; if it sank, then the child would die. The king's son was saved because his mother hid the egg under her dress. In Judaism, eggs are one of the few foods that can be eaten during certain periods of abstinence, such as before a big trip or ceremony.
Easter eggs, also known as Paschal eggs and eggs of Easter, are decorated eggs. The tradition of decorating eggs dates back at least as early as the 13th century.
They are usually colored chocolate or caramel, with some varieties containing plastic jewels or coins. An Easter egg may be as simple as a hollow ball of candy-coated sugar with colored sugar filling the cavity or it can be a more elaborate confectionery creation that uses cooking as a means of decoration.
The term "Easter egg" first appeared in 1735 in A Poetical Essay on the Death of Mr. Pope:
Then shall the sweets of spring, / The fruits of earth and sky, / To solemn praise belong; / And every tongue shall tell / How sweet our God is! / Shall sing his mercy's spell / On those who mourn for him, / And all who wept for him shall rejoice.
This shows that before then, people had been eating candied fruit and cookies to celebrate Easter, but they weren't called Easter eggs. According to legend, Pope Clement VIII loved to eat candy eggs during the Lenten season, when Christians would give up meat and fish to show their faith.