Why do we paint eggs on easter (which is the day we celebrate Jesus' resurrection)?
- 1 decade agoFavorite Answer
Painting or dyeing eggs is a part of most families’ Easter tradition but many of us do not look for any religious symbolism in the colorful eggs.
Yet long before Jesus walked the earth, the egg was revered as a symbol of rebirth and new life by pagans in several Eastern and Middle Eastern cultures. According to ancient pagan mythology, some people believed that the earth was hatched from a giant egg. Others thought that heaven and earth were formed from two halves of an egg. It became common practice for Greeks, Chinese, Persians, and Egyptians to give one another dyed eggs each Spring as symbols of the rebirth of the earth after a long winter.
With such customs firmly in place and well known, it was logical that the early Christians would adopt the dyed egg as a symbol of Jesus’ Resurrection and the rebirth of man. They saw the egg also as a symbol of the tomb from which Jesus rose. And so the egg continued as an appropriate Spring gift.
During the Middle Ages, the wealthy often wrapped eggs in gold leaf for giving as Easter gifts. Peasants, on the other hand, used the more ancient practice of coloring eggs by boiling them with the leaves or petals from certain flowers It is reported that, in the 17th century, Pope Paul V blessed the egg in a prayer used in England, Scotland, and Ireland as part of a ceremony ending Lent. At the time, the eating of eggs was forbidden during Lent.
Although today dyed Easter eggs play no part in the Roman Catholic liturgy, they are incorporated into the Holy Week liturgy of the Eastern Orthodox Church. Traditionally, the eggs are colored a bright red after Holy Thursday services and then brought to the church on Saturday evening for the Great and Holy Pascha (Velikden) services. Some of the eggs are encrusted in an Easter bread called kolache or kozunak. Both the eggs and breads are blessed. Then, after the service, everyone breaks an egg against the church wall and eats it, as a symbol of the end of the Lenten fast. On Easter, the eggs and bread are given to family and friends and especially to parents and godparents.
Today, when painted or dyed eggs are, for the most part, considered an Easter decoration or the object of a children’s hunt, it may be worthwhile to consider restoring the dyed egg’s ancient symbolism of new life and rebirth to the Easter celebration in our homes.
During the Church’s Easter liturgy, we not only celebrate Jesus’ Resurrection but also confirm our Lenten efforts to change our lives by renewing our baptismal commitment to God. In doing so, we recognize that Jesus not only opened the gates to eternal life but also gave birth to a new way of living based on two great commandments centered on love—loving God, one another, and one’s self. Inherent in this is the realization that God calls us to go forth from our community celebration to share His love with one another in our everyday lives.
Eating dyed eggs with family and friends on Easter and perhaps giving painted replicas of eggs as Easter gifts can be a way to symbolize our renewed baptismal commitment to God and our willingness to reach out to one another not only on Easter but every day of our lives.
- 1 decade ago
Easter was a pagan Holiday, but Christians celebrate it as the Day Jesus was resurrected.
- RoseLv 41 decade ago
It also comes from before pre judeo-christian times, in Pagan folklore there was a rabbit who supposedly laid eggs, the egg is also the symbol of renewel and new life ( also the rebirth of Jesus if you are Christian). It is used both in the Easter celebration and in the Passover celebration. Painting may come from the Orthodox church, they paint eggs red during Easter.
- hrh_graceeLv 51 decade ago
Eggs are a very old symbol of new life and springtime, and eggs have been connected to Easter for many centuries. People starting giving eggs as gifts for Easter because eggs used to be forbidden during Lent (the 40 days of fasting before Easter). To dress up the gift, people decorated the eggs. Painting eggs in bright colors represented spring. In Greece, people paint eggs crimson red in honor of the blood of Christ. In parts of Germany and Austria, people prefer eggs painted green. Slavic peoples decorate eggs with gold and silver. Armenians decorate hollow eggs with Christian images. Take a peek in our Easter Eggs category for tips and ideas of how to decorate your own eggs!
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- 1 decade ago
Decorated eggs are much older than Easter, and both eggs and rabbits are age-old fertility symbols. The Passover Seder service uses a hard-cooked egg flavored with salt water as a symbol both of new life and the Temple service in Jerusalem. The Jewish tradition may have come from earlier Roman Spring feasts.
Easter egg origin stories abound—one has an emperor claiming that the Resurrection was as likely as eggs turning red (see Mary Magdalene); more prosaically the Easter egg tradition may have celebrated the end of the privations of Lent. In the West, eggs were seen as "meat", which would have been forbidden during Lent. Likewise, in Eastern Christianity, both meat and dairy are prohibited during the fast, and eggs are seen as "dairy" (a foodstuff that could be taken from an animal without shedding its blood).Another Orthodox tradition is the presenting of red colored eggs to friends while giving Easter greetings. This custom had its beginning with Mary Magdalene. After the Ascension of Christ, she went to the Emperor of Rome and greeted him with "Christ is risen", as she gave him a red egg. She then began preaching Christianity to him. The egg is symbolic of the grave and life renewed by breaking out of it. The red symbolizes the blood of Christ redeeming the world, represented by the egg, and our regeneration through the bloodshed for us by Christ. The egg itself is a symbol of the Resurrection while being dormant it contains a new life sealed within it. One would have been forced to hard boil the eggs that the chickens produced so as not to waste food, and for this reason the Spanish dish hornazo (traditionally eaten on and around Easter) contains hard-boiled eggs as a primary ingredient.
Plus, they're purty.Source(s): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Easter_eggs
- HisChamp1Lv 51 decade ago
Even more confusing to me is why is there an Easter Bunny hopping around with a basket full of eggs?
- 1 decade ago
That's a great question-and why on earth does the easter BUNNY have eggs? Aren't bunnies mammals?
- 1 decade ago
The egg is the pagean sign of fertility. We do celebrate that as Jesus' resurrection, but it has pagean ideas still weaved into it.
- 1 decade ago
The egg is the universal sign of life and creation. Christ was resurrected from death and the egg symbolizes his recreation and rebirth. Good question!
- 1 decade ago
I hope you don't mix the two as one is a xtian holiday and the other is very pagan in origin and has nothing to do with the death and resurection. rather the new birth of a goddess from babylonian times.