Red Eggs at Pascha (Easter)

Red Eggs at Pascha (Easter) April 27, 2006

The following is taken from an old book, “The Most Useful KNOWLEDGE for the Orthodox Russian-American Young People,” compiled by the Very Rev’d Peter G. Kohanik, 1932-1934.

During Easter Day the egg stands as symbol of the resurrection of Christ, and is universally used as means of Christian greeting and present. The symbolical and church significance of the egg has its roots in the greatest antiquity. Long before Christianity, all the cultured nations of antiquity held the egg to be the symbol of life in all their beliefs and customs. According to heathen cosmogonies, the original world’s chaos was contained in an egg, which broke into two halves, the one forming the sky and the other the earth.

Out of the lower part of the egg
Came mother earth.
Out of the upper part of the egg
Arose the high vault of the sky.

From the fact that this idea is to be found amongst all nations, one has to conclude that it is a reflection of the primitive belief which constituted the religion of mankind in the remotest antiquity and then universally spread at the time of the dispersion of nations.

With Christianity, the old belief receives new contents, and the egg receives a religious significance amongst the Christians. There exisits a tradition which makes Mary Magdalene to be the originator of the custom of using red eggs on Easter day. After the Ascension of our Saviour, Mary Magdalene went to Rome to preach the Gospel and, appearing before the Emporer Tiberius, she offered him a red egg, saying: CHRIST IS RISEN.” Thus was begun her preaching. Learning about this offering of Mary Magdalene, the early Christians imitated her, presenting each other with eggs. Hence, eggs began to be used by Christians in the earliest centuries as a symbol of the Resurrection of Christ and of the regeneration of Christians for a new and a better life along [with] it. The custom of presenting each other with red eggs was familiar to the Christians of the earliest Universal Church.

The red color, which generally is used for Easter eggs, serves to remind us of the precious blood of God the Redeemer, which was shed on the cross for the salvation of all men.

The blessing of the eggs takes place after the morning Easter service. The breaking of the lenten fasting on Easter Sunday begins with eating the blessed eggs.
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Christ is Risen!

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