Sunday, April 24, 2011

History of Easter eggs

History of Easter eggs
The history of Easter eggs
The tradition of dyeing eggs can be traced back thousands of years to pre-Christian sun worship festivals. On this Easter Sunday, let's look at how the custom evolved.

3000 B.C. – Sun worship & eggs
Pagans believed that birds were blessed because they could get closest to the sun god; man couldn't catch the birds, only their eggs, which became powerful symbols.

Sun worshippers in the region now known as Ukraine created intricately decorated eggs covered with nature symbols; they called the craft pysanky and used the eggs in springtime religious ceremonies.
988 A.D. – Eggs & Christianity
Ukrainians adopted Christianity, and decorated eggs took on new meaning; the eggs were used to symbolize the rebirth of Christ, incorporating Christian symbols into traditional pysanky designs.
1200 - The first Easter eggs
Christian holy days became more popular as Christianity spread in Europe. Christians in Mesopotamia exchanged colored eggs during their Easter celebrations; these were the first Easter eggs.
1290 – Easter in the High Middle Ages
How you decorated your eggs depended on your social position.

Edward I of England (known for ordering the execution of a Scottish hero) ordered 450 very extravagant Easter eggs, which were exchanged by members of the royal household.

Peasants wrapped their Easter eggs with ferns and flowers and then boiled them, imprinting the patterns on the shell.
1875 - Chocolate eggs
Chocolate eggs began to gain popularity, and a British candy company became a major producer; new styles, designs and fillings were introduced over the years.
1880-85 – From PAAS to FabergĂ©
A New Jersey druggist, who had become well known for his powdered-egg dye formula, founded Townley's Easter Egg Dye. He soon changed the name to PAAS.

In Russia, a famous jeweler created an incredibly elaborate bejeweled Easter egg that was given by the czar to his wife. She was so delighted by it that the House of Fabergé went on to design 50 more.