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What do the Simple Folk Do? # 6 They Color Eggs, an ancient worldwide tradition
Yesterday we colored eggs! A long time family tradition for my family around the Spring Easter season, and has been a traditon for millions of persons around the world from many different religions and cultures.
Where did the tradition come from? There are many theories but historians take coloring eggs way back to the earliest peoples and their ideas of the beginnings of the world and life. Decorated Ostrich eggs that at 60,000 years old, way before Christianity, other major religions developed, have been found and dated in Africa. So what many Christians around the world take as their own, is actually much much older than many people know. See Wikki for an indepth series on this whole subject. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Easter_egg The egg can represent fertility, beginning of life, a tomb, resurrection, the stone in front of a tomb, and the colors can represent blood, green life and fertility, yellow -sun….. Lots of things1 Wow!
According to Peggy Trowbridge Filippone inan easy to read essay: https://www.learnreligions.com/easter-egg-history-1807594“The ancient Egyptians, Persians, Phoenicians, and Hindus all believed the world began with an enormous egg, thus the egg as a symbol of new life has been around for eons. The particulars may vary, but most cultures around the world use the egg as a symbol of new life and rebirth.”
As with many of the world’s major religions, Christianity adopted local beliefs and customs in order to help persons who were interested in those beliefs incorporate their already preconceived notions about life and the beginning of the world.
And for Christians in particular, according to Peggy, “Since Easter is in the spring, the holiday is also a celebration of this annual time of renewal when the earth re-establishes itself after a long, cold winter. The word Easter comes to us from the Norsemen’s Eostur, Eastar, Ostara and Ostar, and the pagan goddess Eostre, all of which involve the season of the growing sun and new birth. The egg has become synonymous with Spring’s arrival.”
So the very early preachers in the Norse lands already knew how to adopt local ideas and put them to use in their early churches.
So taking that pile of eggs! Let’s get started! First I lay out all the materials: dishes, paper towels, food colors, drying racks and dipping utensils. Then I boil up those eggs until they are hard inside and cool them down completely in ice water or the fridge and make sure they are well dried. Her’s what it looks like!
We use not only the commercial dye kits, but also straight old Cake food coloring dyes. You want to make sure the dyes are edible if you are planning to eating the eggs later on. These dyes are water soluble and we put 1 tablespoon full of vinegar in each container, the dye and 1/2 – 3/4 cup of warm water. With food coloring you can always add more dye if you think the colors aren’t strong enough.
Then go to work!
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I love DEEP colors! The Green and Red Egg reminds me of the lab experiments we used to do with Green Chlorophyll Extract in Science Classes and when you shine a light through the Green solution, it makes it fluoresce and give off a fabulous deep Red color! Wow! (But that’s another story) Interested? See Wikki: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chlorophyll_fluorescence
All done? Put your eggs in a great display basket and show your friends!
P.S. If you plan to eat some of the eggs, don’t leave them out more than a day or two in a cool room before putting them in the fridge. We wouldn’t want you to come down with food poisoning after all the fun and enjoyment.