Colorado egg farmers and the Colorado Egg Producers (CEP) Association are proud to join in the celebration of World Egg Day on October 8, 2010. Eggs are celebrated in many cultures around the world as a symbol of the essence of life and as an important source of food and nutrition.
“World Egg Day is the perfect opportunity to highlight and celebrate the special place eggs hold in cultures spanning the globe,” said Jerry Wilkins of the Colorado Egg Producers Association, a membership organization representing seven family farms throughout Colorado. “In addition to specific customs, symbolism and beliefs about eggs, internationally eggs are considered a fundamental component of people’s diets. Weighing in at 75 calories, eggs pack a punch of nutrition. Each egg has 13 essential nutrients – including the highest quality protein, choline, folate, iron and zinc.
In honor of World Egg Day, below are a few fun and interesting tidbits about international egg customs and traditions. This information is provided courtesy of the American Egg Board, Egg Nutrition Center and foodtimeline.org, which quotes excerpts from The History of Food and The Chicken Book.
• Eggs were colored, blessed, exchanged and eaten as part of the rites of spring long before Christian times. Even the earliest civilizations held springtime festivals to welcome the sun’s rising from its long winter sleep. Ancient peoples thought of the sun’s return from darkness as an annual miracle and they regarded the egg as a natural wonder and proof of the renewal of life. As Christianity spread, the egg was adopted as a symbol of Christ’s Resurrection from the tomb.
• While it is customary to throw rice at weddings in many countries, French brides break an egg on the threshold of their new home before stepping in for luck and healthy babies.
• In Iran, brides and grooms exchange eggs.
• In Egypt eggs were hung in the temples to encourage fertility.
• In the Slavonic and Germanic lands, people smeared their hoes with eggs, in the hope of transferring the eggs' fertility to the soil.
• Eggs laid on Good Friday and eaten on Easter Sunday are said to protect against fever the whole year through.
• Thrown into the heart of a fire, eggs are thought to have the power to extinguish the blaze.
• Buried in the garden or on the edge of a field, eggs are said to guard against lightning and hail, and protect beehives.
• A forbidden treat during Lent, eggs in maple syrup are still part of the Easter tradition in many areas of Quebec. What’s more, in days gone by, maple syrup or, better yet, maple sugar was served in a decorated eggshell.
• Egg wars were popular throughout Medieval Europe at Easter. The most famous, which occurred around 975 A.D., took place between the bishop and dean of Chester, England and the cathedral choir. Records state that weeks later, one could still hear the eggshells under one’s sandals.
• The Chinese and certain tribal groups in southern Asia used the eggs of chickens or ducks to divine the future. One method involved painting the eggs, boiling them, and reading the patterns in their cracks.
While we are all taking time out this Friday to celebrate eggs, it is also important to acknowledge the great work egg farmers from around the globe – including right here in Colorado – are doing to help those in need.
Chairman of the International Egg Commission (IEC), Frank Pace, explains further: “Research from the Food and Agriculture Organization predicts that our global population will increase by a staggering 2.5 billion people during the next 40 years. We know that 1 billion of the current population is already undernourished, so finding a way to feed another 2.5 billion is a huge challenge. Egg farmers from all around the world are working together to help to solve this problem and provide a source of high quality protein to help to feed this growing population.”
According to the IEC, during the past 12 months, egg farmers from around the globe have donated more than 17 million eggs to international hunger relief charities working in Central America, the Caribbean, Asia, Africa and Europe.
CEP is also committed to doing what’s right for its community. Over the last year, Colorado egg farmers have donated more than 1 million eggs to local charities, including food banks and homeless shelters, to help feed those in need.
About Colorado Egg Producers Association
The Colorado Egg Producers (CEP) Association is a membership organization representing seven family farms throughout the state. CEP is committed to doing what’s right for its community, as illustrated by the regular donation of thousands of eggs to food banks throughout the state. Local egg farmers take great pride in providing eggs to Coloradans. We are also proud to offer consumers the choice between cage, cage-free eggs, organic, nutrient enhanced, brown and white eggs. For more facts and information about eggs and CEP, including a list of where to buy Colorado eggs, please visit www.coloradoeggproducers.com.