Although considered a religious holiday by many people, Easter holds a number of familiar customs that probably came from ancient pagan traditions. One such custom is the decorating of Easter eggs. Long considered a symbol of new life, the lowly egg was associated with ancient pagan festivals that celebrated spring.
From a Christian perspective, Easter eggs represent the resurrection of Jesus from the tomb. Through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, all believers are assured everlasting, or new, life.
A lasting tradition
The tradition of decorating eggs for the Easter season began around the 13th century, or before, according to a number of sources. They explain this custom is because eggs were a forbidden food during the Lenten season, so people would cover their eggs with paint and decorate the eggs to celebrate the end of the fasting period. Then they could eat the colorfully decorated eggs on Easter as they celebrated the end of penance.
Easter egg hunts and egg rolls
Two popular traditions are the Easter egg hunts and the egg rolls many children look forward to and enjoy. It is a tradition in the United States for the President and his family to host an Easter egg roll on the White House lawn. The Easter egg roll is a race where children push hard-boiled eggs that have been decorated across the White House lawn.
The annual event is traditionally held the Monday after Easter. Started by President Rutherford B. Hayes, the first official White House egg roll event occurred in 1878.
Although the event has no religious significance, some people consider the egg rolling symbolic of the stone blocking Jesus’ tomb being rolled away, leading to his resurrection.
No matter what beliefs people hold about decorating, hunting for, and rolling Easter eggs, the popular activity appears to thrill children throughout the world. There are many ways to decorate the lowly egg – watch for our Easter egg decoration ideas and tips in related posts.