Art Awareness Culture

5 Theories Why Eggs Are Dyed For Easter

5 Theories: Why We Dye Eggs For Easter?

Every year, when Easter approaches, people hard boil eggs and dye them in different colours. Do you know why? There is not just one answer to this question but many theories of how dying eggs became a tradition and so famous that it is practiced all across the globe. Easter marks the holiday in calendar and people celebrate this holiday with great enthusiasm, most of which, is for dying eggs and showing their creativity. Here are 5 theories to explain how this tradition started:

1 – A Spring Celebration

5 Theories: Why We Dye Eggs For Easter?

Eggs were much associated with celebration of spring and pagan festivals. They were symbolic of new life and birth, which falls appropriate to celebrate spring. Commonly, eggs were decorated in conjunction with these spring festivals, and these colored eggs were given as gifts to friends and family. It also falls aptly as the celebration of Jesus’ resurrection.

2 – A Mesopotamian Tradition

5 Theories: Why We Dye Eggs For Easter?

According to a monthly Catholic-oriented general interest magazine that ran from 1878 to 1908, Donahoe’s Magazine Volume 5, early Christians in Mesopotamia dyed the eggs red in order to mimic the blood that Christ shed during his crucifixion. Apparently the church took up this and it has become a tradition ever since.

3 – A Royal Tradition

5 Theories: Why We Dye Eggs For Easter?

The researchers claim that King Edward I of England may also have contributed to the tradition of decorating eggs, in order to celebrate Easter. The pages of history has it that, Edward I ordered 450 eggs to be colored and decorated with gold-leaf in the 13th century. They were presented to rest of the royal household as easter gifts.

4 – Mary Magdalene And The Red Egg

5 Theories: Why We Dye Eggs For Easter?Christ's Appearance to Mary Magdalene after the Resurrection. Painting:Alexander Ivanov

Mary Magdalene is a key player in the creation of the egg-dying tradition, according to the legends. Mary Magdalene’s trip to Jesus’ tomb three days after his crucifixion is depicted in one version. Apparently, she carried a basket of cooked eggs, for the women who were mourning at the tomb. Only when she arrived, she found stone rolled away from the entrance and the tomb empty. After that, the eggs in her basket turned to a brilliant shade of red.

Another legend has it that Mary Magdalene went to speak to the Roman Emperor Tiberius after Jesus rose from the dead. Apparently she said ‘Christ is risen’ to greet the emperor. To this he replied, ‘Christ has no more risen than that egg is red’ gesturing to an egg that was on his table or held by Mary herself, depending on the version of the legend. And as soon as the emperor said this, the egg apparently turned red.

5 – Mary, The Mother Of Jesus And The Red Egg

5 Theories: Why We Dye Eggs For Easter?

In some of the Eastern European legends, it is not Mary Magdalene but Mary, Jesus’ mother, who is the source of the egg dying tradition. According to legends, Mary was present for her son’s crucification on Good Friday and brought eggs with her. One of the legends depict that a drop of blood fell on the egg turning it red, while another version of the legend tells of Mary weeping, begging the soldiers at the cross to be less cruel to her son. When her tear drop falls on the egg, it turns red.

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