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History of the

Easter Egg


Some History of the Easter Egg
By: Tippy & Alfred

No one really knows how the tradition of painting the Easter
Egg came about, but it is assumed that it was to ward off
evil spirits and attract good ones. The painting of eggs or
dyeing of them can be done in one's own kitchen with a
commercial dye kit, food coloring, or even natural dyes, and
with the help and enjoyment of your children.

But that is not the only way that eggs are decorated. The
most extreme example of egg decoration are the exquisite
Faberge eggs done by Peter Faberge in St. Petersburg in the
late nineteenth and early twentieth century for the Russian
nobility, which are encrusted with real gems and gold. Many
can still be seen in museums around the world, as well as in
St. Petersburg.

There is still an active wood carving and painting craft
done in Ukraine, Russia, and other countries with truly
fabulous designs done in egg shapes:

In Ukraine and Russia, the egg dying tradition is called
Krashanky, a word that means color or dye, and the eggs are
dyed extremely bright colors, especially red to symbolize
the blood Jesus shed. Krashanky is often done in amazingly
detailed and elaborate patterns using dyes and waxes similar
to the batik method of dying fabric.

Eastern Europeans also often paint eggs for Easter, with the
most talented egg artists creating entire scenes from
traditional stories, Bible stories, or images from
traditional icons, sometimes on eggs of porcelain, wood or
plaster, but also on actual eggshells. Sometimes the eggs
are designed to be opened, and inside will be a painted
scene or a vignette carved from wood or tree fungus. The
well-decorated eggs are then given to friends and loved ones
as gifts after the Easter church service.

In Macedonia Easter Eggs are commonly dyed, a design applied
with wax, then the egg bleached. What is left is the colored
design under the protective wax coating.

Drama also has a place in Easter tradition. Pace Eggers were
once local townsfolk that took a jog around the town at
Easter reenacting "The Pace Egging Play." There would
invariably be a St. George, a battle, and a strange
character by the name of Old Tosspot. The Pace Egging play
is a drama detailing a person's unfortunate death (sometimes
the victim is St. George, in others it's a Turkish Knight by
the name of Bold Slasher) and his resurrection by a comedic

The Pace Eggers (or Jolly Boys) went around in disguise.
Some players wore masks and the character Old Tosspot would
blacken his face with soot (sometimes other characters do
the same as Old Tosspot) and of course they all wore

It is the job of Old Tosspot to collect the various gifts
from the houses and crowd. Traditionally he carries a woven
straw basket and a long straw tail full of very sharp pins.
He would swing this about and anyone trying to grab it would
get a nasty surprise. He would then encourage everyone to
put their various gifts into the basket (Pace Eggs, food,
coins, etc.) there was no wrong gift. When the basket is
full the Pace Eggers would then begin their Easter play.
This is not practiced very much nowadays but when it is it
is really fun to watch.

And here is a strange twist. Easter eggs - where do they
come from originally? Not chickens as you might think.
According to a German tale, the Easter Bunny lays the
colored (and chocolate?) eggs and hides them in and around
your backyard or garden! In France it is believed that
Easter eggs drop from church bells on their way back to the
holy city Rome.

Where do you think they come from?

Back To:  All About The Holidays

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By: Tippy & Alfred

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