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Egg-cellent Easter traditions from around the world.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Easter Bunny will soon be hop, hop, hopping into our homes and communities. Children and adults alike are gearing up to celebrate the holiday with traditions that have been around for centuries. As the holiday nears, the Colorado Egg Producers (CEP) Association honors the history of the holiday by sharing Easter traditions that span the globe. From the Easter Bunny to decorating and hunting for eggs, many traditions are shared, celebrated and treasured by people around the world.

“It’s a great time to celebrate spring and enjoy the many traditions that come with the Easter holiday,” said Mike Surles, a Colorado egg farmer and member of CEP. “Eggs are the traditional centerpiece of Easter. As local egg farmers, we take great pride in knowing that our friends, family and neighbors are using only the best, highest quality eggs in their festivities from holiday feasts to decorating fun.”

CEP is a membership organization representing seven farms throughout Colorado. 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. Egg farmers throughout Colorado pride themselves on 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. You can find locally produced, fresh, wholesome and safe eggs in the dairy case of your favorite Colorado supermarkets. To see video of how chickens are raised in both cage and cage-free environments or to find a list of where to buy Colorado eggs visit coloradoeggproducers.com.

In many countries, including right here in the U.S., the Easter Bunny is a prominent symbol of the holiday. While the exact origin of the Easter Bunny is uncertain, the experts at History.com have helped narrow it down. Hares and rabbits are ancient symbols of fertility and new life, which would make them ideal “mascots” for the spring season and the Easter holiday. Sources say the Easter Bunny first arrived in America in the 1700s from German immigrants who brought with them the tradition of an egg-laying hare called "Osterhase" or "Oschter Haws." Their children made nests in which this creature could lay its colored eggs. Eventually, the custom spread across the U.S.

According to History.com, the egg is an ancient symbol of new life and is thought to be associated with pagan festivals celebrating spring. From a Christian perspective, Easter eggs are said to represent Jesus' emergence from the tomb and resurrection. Decorating eggs for Easter is a tradition that dates back to at least the 13th century. One explanation for this custom is that eggs were formerly a forbidden food during Lent. So people would paint and decorate them to mark the end of the period of penance and fasting, and then eat them on Easter as a celebration.

Easter egg decorating is a fun tradition in many cultures and countries. Courtesy of Kinderinfo.com, an online children’s resource center, below is a list of international egg decorating styles.

Russia – Perhaps the most famous decorated eggs of all are known as Faberge eggs. They are named after the company that created them, and are exquisitely detailed jewelry designed in the shape of eggs. Faberge eggs, which are made from gold and precious stones, were originally created for the Russian Imperial Court.

Poland – The Polish pisankas are created by first dipping an egg in wax and then carving it. The egg is typically dyed once the carving is finished. The Polish typically exchange the pisanka eggs as gifts between family members on Easter Saturday.

Ukraine – A process similar to Polish pisankas is used to make Ukrainian Easter eggs, known as pysanky. The most common design themes are geometric shapes like squares or diamonds. These eggs are also given as gifts and it is common for the colors and designs to be tailored to the intended recipient. Receiving a pysanky as an Easter gift is a great honor in the Ukrainian culture and the egg is often prominently displayed as art in the recipient’s home.

Greece – The Greeks commonly dye their eggs solid red. The red color is symbolic of the redeeming blood of Jesus, resurrected on Easter Sunday.

Germany and Austria – The Germans have two Easter egg traditions which reflect their diverse history. In parts of Germany and Austria, green eggs are used and are exchanged on Maundy Thursday. In other parts of Germany they decorate hollow eggs.

British Isles – The British decorate Easter eggs in many different colors and styles. What sets their tradition apart from others, however, is the Easter egg roll. The Easter egg roll is a contest is to see who can roll their egg down a hill and across the finish line without breaking their egg.

United States – Here in the U.S., many traditions from cultures around the world are celebrated. One of the most famous Easter egg traditions in the U.S. is the White House Egg Roll that takes place in Washington D.C. The tradition was originally started by First Lady Dolly Madison in the early 1800s and has evolved since then. Every year, on Easter Monday, children participate in this symbolic contest on the lawn of the White House, which is overseen by the First Lady.

How will you celebrate this special and most “egg-centric” holiday? To comment or learn more facts and information about eggs, you can find CEP on Facebook at facebook.com/COEggProducers. Or visit www.coloradoeggproducers.com. You can also learn more about eggs by ordering a complimentary copy of the Egg Reader from the Colorado Foundation for Agriculture at GrowingYourFuture.com.
 

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