Decorated eggs are an Easter tradition that is celebrated by Christians in many parts of the world. While various cultures put a different spin on the precise way that these eggs are used, the decorations or bright colorings of the eggs along with some type of rabbit or hare seem to be a common thread in most places. Candy, chocolate, and assorted types of artificial eggs sometimes replace the chicken egg in some places and in some families.
The spring equinox has a long history of being a special time in relation to human societies. Nearly all advanced early societies learned to anticipate the coming of spring. Temples and other structures were designed to mark the occasion by having openings that allowed the rising sun on the first day of spring to shine in a specific pattern. This was important for agriculture because it signalled the planting season. It also gained religious significance because spring was the time when the death of winter was past and new life would begin to emerge.
Eggs were integrated into these spring rituals because life often springs from eggs. To emphasize the celebration of life, the eggs would be decorated tomake them more noticable give them added beauty. The eggs would be displayed to honor some god or another depending on the nation. Persians, Greeks, Romans, and others all had their version of the god or goddess of life. The eggs were usually some type of attempt to curry the favor of the particular god.
Because Easter happens in early spring, it was easy for early Christians to weave this spring pagan practice into Christian heritage. The egg as a symbol of new life was a simple fit for the idea of Christ’s resurrection bring new life to those who accept it. It is uncertain when the rabbit or hare entered the Christian practice of decorating eggs. Regardless of when the rabbit appeared, it eventually made the transition to become the Easter Bunny.
The egg whether decorated or not has also become a symbol for the Trinity. Most Christians teach that God exists as the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost or Spirit. Three persons who act in perfect unison as one. The egg has a yolk, white, and shell. These are three distinct parts, but it takes them all to equal one egg.
Eggs are used by Christians to represent God.
Early Christians picked up the practice and gave it Christian meaning.
Eggs are regarded as symbols of the origin of life.
Decorated eggs and a spring equinox celebration were used by several ancient cultures long before the Christians adopted them.