The Meaning of Easter Eggs

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The Meaning of Easter Eggs  (1888) 
From Popular Science Monthly Volume 33, May 1888 Popular Miscellany


The Meaning of Easter Eggs.—Larousse's "Dictionnaire Universel" says: "The use of Easter eggs is general among all the people of the different Christian communities. It appears to have been a symbolic tradition of the Christian Church, which has been explained in different ways. Some see in it a remembrance of the red egg which, according to Ælius Lampidius, a hen belonging to the parents of Alexander Severus laid on the day of his birth. Others trace it to the martyrdom which was inflicted upon Christians by the ova ignita.

Among pagans, the egg had a mystic sense, relating to the origin of beings and of the whole world; and it is perhaps the case that this tradition was preserved, along with many others, in the new religion. The most probable interpretation, however, is that the Christian adepts saw in the egg, in view of the phenomenon of its hatching, a symbol of the resurrection of Christ; and hence the custom of carrying eggs to the temple on Easter-day to be blessed by the priest, which were afterward distributed to the family and friends. But it may be that there is in this nothing more than a joyful manifestation on the occasion of having again eggs of which the laity had been deprived during the whole of Lent."