Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 20, 1909.djvu/342
Roumanian Easter Eggs.
dead." Scarcely had he uttered these words when, by the power of The Lord, all the eggs at once turned red, and the cock rose up and, flapping its wings, began to crow, and sprinkled the Jews with the sauce. When the Jews saw this, they were seized with a great fear, and, springing up from the table, took to flight. The sprinkling with sauce gave rise to the skin diseases which the Jews often have on their faces, and, ever after this miracle, the Roumanians have always made red eggs at Easter time.
The legend which explains the redness of the eggs as due to the blood of Christ runs as follows:—
It is said that, when Our Lord Jesus Christ was on the Cross, and when His bitter enemies were mocking and persecuting Him, the Virgin Mary, His Mother, was filled with a great pity for Him, and, wishing to do something, however little, to alleviate His sufferings, she took a basket of eggs, went to the Jews, bowed herself down before them, and pleaded with them to cease their persecution. But the wicked Jews, instead of listening and having pity on Jesus, began to mock Him even more, and, when Jesus asked for water to drink, they gave Him in mockery vinegar and nettles. When Mary saw this, she put the basket of eggs beside the Cross, and began to sob as though her heart would break. As streams of blood from Jesus' wounded hands and feet fell on the eggs, some of them were completely stained by the blood as though they had been dyed, while others were stained in part only. Then Our Lord Jesus Christ, seeing how the eggs were coloured by His blood, cast His eyes on those around Him and said,—"From now on, you also must make red eggs, or eggs stained in part with red, in remembrance of My Crucifixion, for thus have I done today." After Our Lord rose again, Mary was the first to make red eggs, and, full of joy at seeing her Son again, she greeted everyone she met with "Christ is risen," and with the greeting she offered a red egg.
Though plain red eggs are common both in the kingdom and elsewhere, eggs with a red ground and a design in white upon it are more characteristic.
The method of making the designs upon the eggs is essentially the same for all Roumanians except those from Macedonia. It consists in protecting certain lines and points by wax, colouring the egg by boiling it in a red solution, and finally removing the wax, leaving white lines and points. The eggs are in the first place well washed, sometimes with sour whey, so that they may take the