THE origin of the Easter egg has its roots in a heathen age. The egg was a symbol of festivity to the Indo Europeans—centuries before the birth of our Lord, and in consequence an emblem of spring. Long ago in Persia, people used to give each other eggs at their New Year, which was at the time of the Spring equinox.
To them it seemed that new life emerged from a seemingly dead thing—an egg—just as renewed life came to nature with the spring.
Later the early Christians came to regard eggs as a symbol, the symbol of the rock. from which our Lord rose triumphant on the first Easter morning.
FOGS, too, had a less symbolic
connection with Easter. They were forbidden to many people during the 40 days Lenten Fast and so, for the first time for many days, could be enjoyed on Easter morning.
In olden times, the Church invoked a special blessing on eggs eaten at Easter. It runs thus : " We beseech thee, 0 Lord, to bestow thy benign blessing upon these eggs, to make them a wholesome food for the faithful, who gratefully partake of them in honour of the Resurrection of our Lord, Jesus Christ."
* * TN the middle ages, all servants received eggs at Easter time from their masters, gaily coloured, dyed eggs.
We read that Edward I of England ordered 450 eggs to be boiled and coloured with gold leaf to be distributed to the Royal household, French children are told that the eggs for which they are looking in house and garden have been dropped by the church bells on their return from Rome—a journey which all church bells are said to make on the eve of the Easter Feast.
In the northern part of Britain, where many old customs linger on, children used to be seen rolling gaily coloured hard-boiled eggs downhill. The ritual, though most likely the young people did not realise it, was done to commemorate the rolling away of the stone before the Holy Sepulchre on Easter morning.