Easter is a Christian Festival, which celebrates Christ's Resurrection, and today eggs are exchanged with family and friends to commemorate the unification of all God's children at this time. It was said that Roman Catholic nuns near Rome decorated hen's eggs and took them to church on Easter Sunday so that the eggs could be blessed by the priests and then distributed to the locals for food. Traditionally children were given hard-boiled eggs painted red to symbolise the blood of Christ. The Romans and Egyptians would exchange eggs to symbolise the continuance of life after death. Early Christianity is thought to have adopted the idea and incorporated it into Easter celebrations.
Yet many have forgotten where the custom of exchanging eggs to family and friends has come from. The actual origin of giving eggs is generally believed to stem from Pagan traditions, and it is also believed by some that the word 'Easter' derives from the old Saxon language word 'Oster' meaning 'to rise'. The rising and rebirth of the sun on Easter day was a time of much celebration and dancing (See Mystical WWW Arts : Dance, Morris) in an old Aryan belief but only because the sun rose and not for any other reason. To commemorate the rising of the sun on this day, red and gold eggs were exchanged as eggs symbolised the birth of the new sun, again linking together the various Creation myths associated with the egg. The Pagan goddess 'Eastre' or 'Eostre', ‘Spring’ or ‘Dawn’ respectively, is thought by some to have been the reason why the festival received the name 'Easter'. The rebirth of spring and all things growing after winter was a reason for great celebration in the Pagan world. Eostre's favourite animal was the 'hare', and there have long been associations between the hare and Easter, although latterly most people tend to associate the rabbit with Easter (hence 'Easter Bunnies' can often be found sold commercially at this time). The hare in Pagan animal mythology represented love, growth and fertility, which ties in very obviously with Easter Bunnies, the beginning of spring and new relationships. (See Mystical WWW Mystic’s Menagerie, & Easter : Folklore of the Easter Hare).
Easter is a time when people around the world exchange eggs, usually to indicate a religious significance or because of friendship. Most are made from delicious chocolate or carved of wood (to make the moment of sharing last). Some eggs are prettily decorated and packaged whilst others carry inscriptions, poetry, and short messages but what is the significance of the messages written upon the egg? (See Mystical WWW Eggs, Traditions and Messages). Some believe that the tradition of decorating eggs can be traced back to the birth of Christ when it is said that the Virgin Mary painted eggs green, yellow and red to entertain and delight the infant Jesus.
By taking an Easter egg into a church, it is said that a male can discover whether there is any negative energies present and also the identity of any witch inside the church. Should there be any witches in the congregation their true identity will be revealed to him. He will recognise the women who are witches it is said by the fact that they will have pieces of pork in their hands rather than prayer books, and instead of bonnets each witch will have a milk pail on their head! There are many renowned traditional Western Easter dishes associated with this festival, the most popular ones being 'Pancakes' served on Shrove Tuesday and 'Scrambled Egg Bentinck' (See Mystical WWW Eggs) which is traditionally served on Easter Sunday.