Bernie Rowen-Ross tells us the stories behind eggs at Easter.
Happy Easter – is a common greeting in the Western world around about this time of year. We see Easter eggs in shops, soon after Valentine’s day, we see fluffy Easter bunnies, and chocolate bunnies abound. Although in the Christian faith it is seen as a memorial day of Christ’s crucifixion.
So why Easter eggs? The goddess Oester is a fertility goddess, and she was celebrated during the spring equinox, during these celebrations there was abundance of fresh fruits, flowers, song and dance, and wine. Throughout Europe in the time of medieval Christianity, Lent which is observed from Ash Wednesday to Maundy Thursday (the day before Good Friday), meant giving up eggs. No one ate eggs or any dish made with egg. To celebrate the end of Lent, eggs were wrapped with leaves and flowers, and boiled so the egg shells became patterned. As part of the celebration these eggs were hidden in the garden where the young and old alike would hunt for them, and enjoy eating them as they broke their fast. Another story tells of children begging for fresh food and eggs after Lent – they were often given eggs as a symbol of new life.
The cosmic egg, according to Vedic writings, has a spirit living within it which will be born, die, and be born yet again. Some versions of Hindu mythology describe Prajapati as forming an egg and then appearing out of it himself. Brahma does likewise. In ancient Egypt pictures of Osiris (the resurrected corn god) show him returning to life and once again rising up from the shell of a broken egg. The ancient legend of the Phoenix is similar. This beautiful mythic bird was said to live for hundreds of years. When its full span of life was completed, it died in flames, rising again from the egg that it had laid. It appears that in so many of the world’s different cultures eggs have a significant connection with resurrection.
It was in 19th century Germany and France, that chocolate Easter eggs were first created, with confectioners competing for first place in both design and flavour. Dark chocolate was used and the egg was normally solid chocolate, as moulds for hollow Easter eggs had not yet been made. The first hollow eggs made by Cadbury were made with dark chocolate and filled with sugared almonds. More decorative ones followed, where the chocolate was smooth but decorated with piped marzipan flowers. The famous Fabergé eggs must have created many hours of inspiration.
Regardless of history and your belief. Whether it be Christian, Pagan, Hindu or secular – enjoy Easter, especially here in East Lothian, where we will soon celebrate the spring equinox and a wonderful new season will hail.
Bernie Rowen-Ross is a Psychotherapist, Sound Healer and Astrologer, she works from THE BAREFOOT SANCTUARY
45 Melbourne Place, North Berwick | t: 01620 844 321