Easter Eggs

pysanky 2006

I love eggs! Not so much to eat them … although, when I’m in the mood, they’re great. I love their shape and their image and their symbolism. I love the fact that they are both extremely strong and delicately fragile simultaneously. Everyone of them is egg-shaped, but each is uniquely different. I know this because I have spent years decorating eggs Ukrainian style for Easter. Yesterday I got out all the supplies and decorated eggs from 10 am ’til 10 pm straight. I only took breaks to eat a sandwich or a piece of cheesecake. :)I had sent out an email to some women friends announcing that I would be doing eggs on Friday and inviting them to stop in and either watch or try one or two themselves. I was very happy that five people stopped by. Saundra, Chalisa, Sarah, Rahel, Katie,DeeDee and Tanya all gave it a try. And in that time, I decorated a whole five eggs of my own. Four of them are in the picture above.

Chalisa, an AFS student from Thailand, asked me, “There is just one thing no one can explain to me; why do you have eggs for Easter?” Chalisa is going to miss Easter with the Dickens because she and another Thai friend are going to the Thai temple (Buddhist) on Sunday for the Thai new year celebration. She really doesn’t know about Christian holidays and didn’t understand the egg and bunny at all. How does that relate to the Christian story?

You know … it’s just like the Christmas tree … remember? These are NOT Christian symbols at all. They are ancient pagan symbols. In Eastern Europe, for example, in the centuries before Christianity arrived, the people worshipped the sun and nature. Spring was a natural fertility holiday to the gods. It was a time of celebration in that the days were getting longer, the trees and flowers would be blooming soon, and it was a season of … you got it, fertility! The egg symbolized fertility and good luck throughout the year. When the countries were Christianized the adopted the ancient pagan rituals of decorating and giving eggs and added some Christian symbols in the decoration. Some have said, well, the egg is still a symbol of new life and the shell reminds us of the grave Jesus rose out of. I think that’s a bit far-fetched myself. The egg is really a very feminine image of life and prosperity. That’s another reason I like them so much. We, Christians, just adopted the secular/pagan cultural ritual and called them “Easter Eggs”. I love understaning the relationship between faith, ritual, and culture … this is yet another reason I love these eggs so much.

Easter, of course, is the holiest day of the Christian calendar. You wouldn’t know it though by our culture. We tend to put a lot more money and tradition into Christmas than Easter. But, really, Easter is what Christianity is all about. The promise of life out of death; the resurrection-hope that God’s way is always far better than what we can perceive at the moment.

When I decorate the eggs .. I think and pray about those things … I re-dedicate my life with each egg … wow! God is good! And I love participating in that goodness.

Happy Easter Everyone!