The tradition of painting eggs - what are the origins
The tradition of painting eggs for Easter is almost two thousand years old. It is now impossible to determine for certain why the decoration of Easter eggs with their own hands has become so widespread in the Christian world. There are many legends explaining this custom. Not all interpretations relate directly to the Resurrection of Christ and, in general, to Christianity. Most of them relate to pagan times, when the egg was considered a symbol of fertility. With the advent of spring in the old days began to paint eggs, decorate them in all sorts of ways to appease the gods and grow a good harvest.
But there are many Christian traditions that tell about the beginning of this centuries-old tradition. The most common is the legend of Mary Magdalene, who brought the emperor Tiberius after Jesus' resurrection a chicken egg. He did not believe her story about the Resurrection, saying that this would be possible if the egg brought is red. Immediately it was fulfilled, and the red color has since become traditional for decorating Easter eggs.
According to another tradition, the red Easter eggs are the blood of the crucified Christ, and the beautiful patterns on them are the tears of the Mother of God. After the death of the Lord, the believers preserved every drop of his blood that had become hard as a stone. When he rose again, they began to pass them on to each other with the joyful message "Christ is risen!"
The third version tells about the childhood of Jesus Christ, who was very fond of playing with the chickens. Their eggs the Mother of God painted and gave him instead of toys. With a plea for pardon, she came to Pontius Pilate with an offering from painted eggs. But they fell out of her apron and rolled around the world.
There are legends, and not at all related to religion. So, for example, one of them tells that on the birthday of Marcus Aurelius the chicken smashed an egg with red spots. This event was an omen of the birth of the future emperor. Since then, the Romans conceived the custom of painting eggs and sending them to each other as a gift. Christians, however, adopted this tradition, putting their meaning into it.
There is also a more practical explanation. During Lent, it is forbidden to eat animal food, including eggs. But the chickens continue to sweep. To eggs last longer do not spoil, they cooked. And to distinguish boiled eggs from raw, they were painted.
Whatever it was, but the tradition of painting eggs has come down to our days, collecting the whole family for this occupation. A lot of customs, rituals and beliefs among Christians are associated with the already colored eggs. The consecrated Easter egg was even attributed to mystical properties. It was believed that it could extinguish a fire, prevent cattle diseases and make its wool smooth, return the beloved, save it from theft, and drive out an unclean force from the house. Having lowered the watercolor to the water, the girls washed this water to preserve youth and beauty. The shell of the Easter eggs was scattered across the field so that the harvest was good.
Hardly anyone can accurately prove or deny the miraculous power of Easter eggs, but some traditions of antiquity have reached us. Until now, the favorite pastime for children during the Easter week is the skating of the painted eggs from the hill. The Easter meal begins with them, and friends and acquaintances are presented with the most beautiful eggs with the good news "Christ is risen!"