Contrary to what one might think, eggs have nothing to do with the Christian holiday of Easter. The egg is most likely linked to pagan symbols of spring, a time for rebirth and a century-old symbol of new life.
As for the decorating? History.com explains:
Decorating eggs for Easter is a tradition that dates back to at least the 13th Century, according to some sources. One explanation for this custom is that eggs were formerly a forbidden food during the Lenten season, so people would paint and decorate them to mark the end of the period of penance and fasting, then eat them on Easter as a celebration.
Easter eggs are a common tradition not only in the US but in many parts of the world. Russia may be most recognized for their beautifully decorated Faberge eggs, though Ukraine, Poland, Germany and many others also partake in egg decorating each spring. Teach kids about these traditions with facts from kinderinfo.com as well as how our nation celebrates with Easter eggs at the White House.
So now that you’re armed with some history and fun facts, on to the eggs.
There are literally thousands of ideas on how to decorate eggs. Google ‘Easter Eggs’ and you will get no less than 17 million results. But no one will dispute that the most traditional way to decorate is by dying a hard-boiled egg.
COOKING EGGS: Not all hard boiled eggs are created equal. How you boil your eggs can result in either ease or frustration. Cracked eggs and those that are hard to peel are all common issues. Martha Stewart offers a fool-proof solution to getting your eggs ready for their color bath. If you still find trouble in peeling your eggs, consider that they might be too fresh. It is suggested at goodegg.com that eggs should be at least 2 weeks old to allow hard-boiled peels an easy removal.
DYING EGGS: Just about any store sells egg dye kits this time of year. For less than $2, you can get a kit that includes half a dozen colors. Newer kits also include tie-dye options and even glitter and sparkles. However, kits aren’t required to color your eggs. Consider a DIY experiment by using foods to create a natural dye. Cabbage can result in blue or teal colors and grape juice will turn your eggs purple. You may also wish to use the food dye you already have in your kitchen. Adding vinegar will make the dye more vibrant.
Regardless of the process you use, wear old clothes and cover your work space. Having paint brushes, straws and droppers on hand makes a fun learning experience for kids. Blank paper is for a great canvas to paint dye on to while waiting for the egg to soak. Using straws, kids may like to blow the color on their papers and budding scientists will enjoy using droppers to mix colors.
EATING EGGS: With all these eggs taking up real estate in our fridge, you might be tempted to find a new recipe. We all fall back on the tried and true stand-bys to eat through our hard boiled eggs: Deviled Eggs and egg salad are reliable solutions. You can also toss them in greens and they make a great addition to your potato salad. But here are a couple options when you think you simply cannot eat another hard-boiled egg.
EASTER TRIVIA: Most of us think we know all there is to know about Easter. Try these trivia questions around the table at your family brunch.
- When is Easter? The first Sunday after the full moon following the first day of Spring
- How much do Americans spend on Easter candy? $1.9 billion, second to Halloween
- When did the Easter Bunny make its first appearance? 1700s, in Pennsylvania by Germans
- How many dozen eggs do American’s buy for Easter? 61 million
- What year did the White House Egg Roll start? 1878
- What year were Peeps created? Chicks in 1953, the bunny didn't arrive until 1980
- What is the record for how many Peeps can be eaten in 30 minutes? 102