Why Do Greeks Crack Eggs At Easter
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Easter, also known as Pascha, is one of the biggest holidays in the Greek Orthodox Church calendar. Not only is it a holiday that has a solid foundation in the church, but it also is associated with many traditions, most especially related to the items that are served on the Greek Easter table.
One of the traditions is that there are always Easter eggs at the table that have been dyed a vibrant red. They are eaten as part of a traditional meal and there is even a game associated with them. Here’s more information:
Origin of Greek Easter Eggs
It is unclear exactly how the egg became a symbol for Easter, but many believe that they are a rollover from pagan times, where eggs were a symbol of fertility in various cultures throughout the world, including in Ancient Greece. However, it is unclear how the Christians managed to embrace the symbolism. Historians speculate that since the people were used to associating eggs with fertility, and also springtime for renewal and birth, the crossover simply happened as more and more people embraced Christianity.
Symbolism of Greek Easter Eggs
When the Greeks did embrace the Easter egg, it was given a distinct Christian symbolism. The egg itself was representative of Christ being laid to rest in the tomb. He was encased by the tomb after he died on the cross, just as the egg is encased by its shell. The tradition of dying eggs red was said to have originated in Mesopotamia and eventually, the Greeks embraced this color as well, and decided that the red color was symbolic of the blood that Christ shed on the cross.
Why Greeks Crack Eggs
The reason why Greeks crack Easter eggs points to the symbolism of the egg representing Christ’s tomb. When he was laid to rest, they rolled a stone in front of the cave, creating a seal. When he rose from the dead, the stone was rolled away. The egg being cracked is symbolic of him emerging from the tomb.
There is a game that is often played that also celebrates that. Choose someone to play against. Crack one end of your egg to one end of theres. Repeat on the other side. If both ends of your egg are cracked, you’re out. If you have one end left, you can crack it against someone else who has one end left until a winner is decided. The winner is the one who still has at least one untracked side, where everyone else might have a totally cracked egg.
Red eggs are an important part of the Greek Easter table. The eggs are hardboiled and then dyed. You can use food coloring to do this or track down traditional Greek Easter egg dye imported from Greece.
Categorized in: Greek Easter Traditions
This post was written by Greek Boston