Why the Egg?
In many cultures the easter egg is a symbol of new life, fertility and rebirth. It has become one of the most widely recognized Easter symbols, representing the rebirth of Christ as well as the coming of Spring. But the tradition of painting hard-boiled eggs during springtime actually pre-dates Christianity. Language Connections, a translation and interpreting services company, shares with you eight of the top Easter egg traditions and where they originated.
Scotland – Egg Rolling
Although the Scots participate in many of the customs associated with Easter, they do have one tradition that is said to have originated in Scotland. On Easter Sunday, many Scottish families participate in an egg rolling contest. After they’re boiled and painted, the decorated eggs are taken to the park where they are rolled down a hill. The person whose egg rolls the farthest distance without breaking is the winner of the contest. Although it is generally considered a children’s game, egg rolling actually has a religious meaning: the rolling of the eggs down the hill symbolizes the rolling away of the stones on Christ’s tomb associated with his resurrection.
Germany – Egg Dance
On Easter, like in many countries, German children receive a basket filled with eggs and chocolates that has been hidden in the garden. But there is one Easter tradition in Germany that dates back to Medieval times. The egg dance game is played by setting eggs on the ground and dancing around them. The object of the game is to damage as few of the eggs as possible.
In some instances to make the game more challenging the dancers are actually blindfolded. Another popular German custom is the Osterbaum or the traditional Easter Tree. A large tree or bush is decorated with eggs that have been painted to look like fruits. The decorated eggs symbolize the end of winter and the return of warmer weather.
Greece – Egg Tapping
Although the Greek Orthodox Easter is not always celebrated on the same day as the Roman Catholic Easter, some years both are on the same day. In Greece, Easter is considered the most sacred holiday of the year and is marked by many traditions. One of these is the tapping dyed Easter eggs together, a game called tsougrisma that is believed to bring good luck.
On Easter Sunday, a time known for big family gatherings and feasting, each person takes a dyed boiled egg (usually colored red) and taps the pointed end of their egg with that of the person sitting next to them. This continues until there is a winner i.e. the last person left with an egg that is still intact. The winner’s prize is good luck!
Sweden – Egg Roof Tile Rolling
Easter Saturday in Sweden begins with children dressing up as good witches and giving out cards in return for eggs and sweets. Decorated eggs are typically exchanged among family members and friends. Later, the eggs are used in a game where they are rolled down roof tiles held up at an angle on the floor. The object of the game is to see which egg goes the farthest. If someone’s egg gets hit by another person’s, the latter gets to keep both. Small twigs and branches of willow or birch are also a common sight in Swedish homes during the Easter holidays. Feathers and small decorations are placed on these twigs and displayed in a vase. This tradition is believed to go as far back as the 16th century in Sweden.
Argentina – Big Chocolate Egg
On Easter Sunday in Argentina, people exchange eggs. They also eat a special Easter cake decorated with, you guessed it, eggs. Argentinians traditionally end the day with a big family feast. Children will then go hunting for the large, hollow chocolate egg, or huevo de Pascua, that their parents have hidden for them.
Most Argentinian families celebrate with an asado, or a feast of grilled meats typically including lamb and many savory dishes. Along with Easter cake, desert often consists of breaking into a big chocolate egg. As you can see, these chocolate eggs are big!
Mexico – Egg Showers
In Mexico, one custom dictates that hollowed out eggs filled with confetti, called cascarones, are broken over a chosen person’s head. This colorful shower of confetti is said to bring good luck. Families go to the park to celebrate on Easter Sunday, and the children usually hide their cascarones and wait for an unsuspecting friend to sneak up on and break an egg over their head!
This Easter tradition was first introduced to Mexico by the Spaniards. During Marco Polo’s visit to China, he observed the filling of hollow eggs with perfumed powder and brought the custom back to Europe. Cascarones can also be traced back to the Italian Renaissance, when men tossed hollowed eggs filled with perfumed powder at the women they were courting.
United States – Easter Egg Hunt
In the United States, Easter is dominated by candy, chocolates and the Easter Bunny. One popular American tradition is the Easter egg hunt. Children of all ages enjoy filling their Easter baskets with chocolate eggs or exchanging the eggs they’ve found in return for various treats. Another custom is the Easter egg rolling contest.
Since 1987, the White House has hosted Easter egg rolling contests for the American public. The eggs are rolled across the South lawn using a stick rather than downhill as they are in Scotland. Previously, an estimated 30,000 people joined the first family on the White House lawn for the traditional Easter egg roll.
Ukraine – Egg Decorating
Ukraine takes the prize for the best Easter egg decoration. The Ukrainian city of Kolomyia has a long tradition of decorating colorful Easter eggs using a wax-resistant batik method. Designs are first made in hot wax using a stylus, and the eggs are then dipped in dyes. The parts covered in wax resist the dye. There is even a museum in Kolomyia shaped like a giant Pysanka, or a Ukrainian Easter egg.
The museum is not only shaped like an egg (14 metres in height and 10 metres in diameter), but parts of the exterior and the inside of the dome have been painted to resemble one. Built in 2000, it is the world’s largest Easter egg and the only museum built for the sole purpose of displaying the beautiful Pysanka!
About Language Connections:
Language Connections is one of the top language service companies in the US. Over the last 30 years, we’ve focused on providing the best business translation services, interpreting services, as well as interpreter training and customized language training programs. In addition to top-tier corporate language training, we offer certified corporate interpreters and professional business translation services in 200+ languages. Our network includes linguists with backgrounds in all major industries. They’re ready to meet your needs, whether they’re for technical translation services, legal translation, government translation services, international development translation services, education translation services, life sciences translation, or something else. Reach out to us today for a free quote on our cost-efficient and timely translation services, interpreters, or other linguistic services.
Language Connections Inc.
2001 Beacon Street, Suite 105,
Boston, MA 02135