Easter Eggs & Easter Bunny, What's The Connection?
Have you ever wondered why bunnies and eggs are the symbols in celebrating Easter? Easter is a Christian festival tradition, to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ on the third day after His crucifixion. It is the culmination of the Passion of Christ preceded by Lent - a forty-day period of fasting, prayer and penance. Holy Week is the last week of Lent.
Easter Sunday is celebrated in different ways across the globe among Christians, with fun games such as egg hunting for kids. But first, here's why eggs and bunny rabbits became the symbol of Easter.
EASTER EGGS & EASTER BUNNY
Eggs were associated with death and rebirth, they represent spring, and a start of new life. For some Christians, cracking open eggs symbolizes the empty tomb of Jesus. Decorating eggs is an ancient tradition. In fact, an engraved and decorated 60,000 year old ostrich egg was found in Africa.
The custom of Easter eggs originated with the early Christians of Mesopotamia . They stained the eggs red in memory of the blood that Jesus Christ shed at His crucifixion. The Christian church adopted the custom as a symbol of resurrection.
So, what about the rabbit? They don't lay eggs. I asked my husband and he has no idea either other than it’s been a tradition since he was a kid. I’m curious because growing up in the Philippines, we don’t do egg hunting. Now, I love decorating eggs for Easter.
In northwest Europe, an Easter bunny is a hare and not a rabbit. It has its origin in pre-Christian fertility folklore. Rabbits and hares are symbols of fertility and rebirth, a new life in spring. Rabbits and hares give birth several litters a year, and females can conceive a second litter while still pregnant with the first. Wow! That's why we see a bunch of them in Spring.
The Easter bunny was introduced to America by German immigrants who settled in Pennsylvania in the 1700’s. The children were told to build a nest in the barn or garden using their caps and bonnets, and if they behave, an “Osterhase” (a German word meaning “Easter hare"), will lay colored eggs in it. As the tradition spread throughout the nation, it evolved and changed, and an elaborate Easter basket became a tradition later on.
Celebrating Easter varies across the Christian world; there are egg hunting, egg rolling, egg dance, Easter parades and many more. In Germany, they decorate trees and bushes with eggs - they call it "Easter egg trees". In some Mediterranean countries, they use painted eggs to decorate the house and on Easter day, children will duel while saying "Christ is resurrected, indeed He is" and then eat the eggs when they break. In Greece, one person will strike another's eggs with his or hers - the one that doesn’t break is believed to be a token of good luck for the winner. In Northeastern Mexico, empty eggshells are stuffed with confetti and hidden; and then when they are found the eggs are broken on each other's head.
Every country that celebrates Easter has different egg games. Other than egg hunting, children can play these games too, more fun for kids and adults.
Egg hunting – various decorated eggs are hidden for children to find. The most eggs collected, or largest or smallest eggs found, have a prize.
Egg Tapping – each player hits the other player's egg with their own egg. The losers get to eat their eggs; the holder of the last intact egg is the winner.
Egg rolling – traditionally the eggs are rolled down hillsides or simple ramps made of cardboard; the object is to hit someone else's egg.
Egg dance or Hop-egg - eggs are laid on the ground and the goal is to dance among them without breaking any eggs.
EASTER EGGS EASY DECORATING
These days some people don't even bother making and decorating Easter eggs. They buy plastic eggs at the store where you can put "goodies" (money or chocolate) inside. Nothing wrong with that. The thing is, they are missing the fun part, creating Easter eggs with their kids and teaching them art as well. I can understand, some parents are busy and some are not really into crafting, but it doesn't have to be perfect.
Here's the easiest egg decorating that you can do. Just three ingredients for basic coloring: eggs, vinegar and food coloring. This is a joint effort between Hermann and me. He boils and dyes the eggs while I do the embellishment.
First is to boil the eggs. Put the eggs in cold water, and when it starts to boil, time it for at least 10 minutes, then put it in cold water. You will then have perfect boiled eggs ready for dyeing.
When you buy food coloring there are instructions on the box. You can use basic colors or mix different colors, they even sell neon colors too. Experiment - any which way you make them they are going to be beautiful and original. Combine the food coloring with a half cup of boiling water and one teaspoon of vinegar. You can either use basic color or mix two or three colors. The more food coloring you use, the more intense will be the colors of the eggs.
Dyeing & Drying
1. Prepare cups, one for each color that you are going to use.
2. Dip the eggs one at a time and leave them in the cup for a couple of minutes; then put them on a cookie rack over a cookie sheet to catch the dripping, if any.
3. Repeat the process until you get the colors you want. You can dip the egg in other colors too, to have a combination of colors other than the basic.
4. Once the eggs are dry, rub oil on each egg to make it shiny.
If you like marbled eggs like these below, mix food coloring with a little oil. This will be fun for kids to do since each marbled egg comes out different.
If you want more artsy design on your eggs, you can tie a ribbon or put stickers on them. On some, I use ribbon scraps and glue from my scrap-booking projects.
DECORATING FOR ADULTS WITH HOLLOWED EGGS
Lately, I decorate with hollowed egg shells instead of boiled eggs. We don't want to eat eggs day after day and we don't want to waste eggs either. Also, I can put them away and re-use them the next year. Hermann has a way of emptying the eggs without breaking the shell, by piercing a tiny hole on one end of a raw egg with a needle and a making a small hole on the other. Then, by blowing air into the pinhole end, it will force the egg out of the hole in the other end. Here, I created different embellishments with hollowed eggshells, using ribbons (as you will notice I love ribbons), sparkles, papers, threads, sequins, glitters or whatever I can find among my crafting stuff. I also made some egg ornaments with baking soda and cornstarch. The possibilities are endless. Have fun doing it, especially at this time where everyone has to stay home.