As nearly 2.3 billion Christians all over the world, get ready to celebrate Easter or the Resurrection of Jesus Christ this coming Sunday, bakers and confectioners are preparing to meet the demand for the traditional Easter Eggs that have been part of the festival for centuries.
Saint Bede the Venerable, the sixth century Franciscan monk in his book “Ecclesiastical History of the English People”, traced the origin of the English word ‘Easter’ to Eostre or Eostrae, the Anglo-Saxon goddess of spring and fertility. Other interpretations believed that the word came from in albis, a Latin phrase that was recognised as the plural of alba or dawn and became eostarum in Old High German.
Many Easter-time traditions have roots that can be traced to non-Christian and Pagan celebrations. Since Medieval times, Pagan festivals celebrating spring have used the Egg as an ancient symbol of new life. The Spring or Vernal Equinox when the day and night have approximately the same length, was celebrated as a period of renewal.
Apart from their historical use as symbols of fertility, in early centuries eggs were so highly valued that they were used as currency to pay salaries especially to clerics and pastors. From a Christian perspective, Easter Eggs are believed to represent Jesus’ emergence from the tomb after his resurrection. Just as Jesus rose from the tomb, the egg symbolised new life emerging from the eggshell.
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