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The Story Behind Easter Eggs

December 31st, 2012 Seasonal

Many of us have very fond memories of decorating, hunting for and, of course, eating Easter eggs. It's a beloved tradition that thousands of families practice every single year. But have you ever thought about where the concept of the Easter egg came from? It's not like bunnies lay eggs! As it turns out, the story stretches back thousands of years, all the way back to several ancient civilizations. Though they didn't celebrate Easter specifically, many of their beliefs influenced the way we observe the holiday today.

The ancient Egyptians, Persians and Hindus all believed that the world began inside a giant egg. Eggs have been a symbol of life and rebirth for quite some time, which is exactly what Easter is all about - Christians celebrate the day on which Jesus rose from the dead, but Easter can also be regarded as a commemoration of the arrival of spring. In fact, the word Easter comes from the pagan goddess Eostre, who was believed to be involved with the growing sun and new births.

Additionally, recovered documents have shown that King Edward I of England ordered 450 eggs to be gold-leafed, colored and handed out as Easter gifts. Given that the holiday marks the end of Lent, perhaps the practice of giving eggs as gifts arises from the fact that it was the first opportunity for many to enjoy them after abstaining from animal products for 40 days. Laying one's eyes on a beautiful, colorful egg after a long and difficult winter is a great way to raise the spirits, as well!

So when Easter rolls around, know that you're participating in a tradition that goes back perhaps thousands of years!