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The egg and I

We did not even color one egg this year. In the past my husband and I had both colored eggs for Easter. He told me Diedra always wanted a bowl of colored eggs for her Easter table. My children always wanted to make special eggs for people so we put ours into baskets.

Of course, last year was the exception. We could not even gather as a family for Easter. Church services were suspended, too.

All of this got me thinking about the origin of the Easter egg. As it turns out the idea of Easter eggs comes from ancient civilizations such as the Egyptians, the Persians, and the Phoenicians. At that time people believed that when the egg was broken the sun was created from the yolk and the rest of the world from the white. Eggs were so revered that they were buried with the dead.

Why the emphasis on the egg? People realized the egg was the beginning of life. The book I used said, “It was only natural that the egg would be one of the first symbols of pagan culture that found its way into the Christian celebration of the resurrection.”

It also noted that egg hunts were done in ancient civilizations. At that time people ate the eggs of all birds and the hunt was done for survival. Orthodox Christians were probably the first to color eggs. The eggs colored, were blown out so that they could keep them.

There is a legend to explain the different colors as they related to the resurrection. People have also used jelly beans to recreate the story. Whether you use eggs or jelly beans it does not matter. The colors and what they stand for are: green — the palms, yellow – the sun, red — Jesus blood, black — our sins, white – the grace He gave us, purple — the hour of sorrow, and pink — a new tomorrow. There are variations on this so if you want to try this feel free to interpret.

The children and grandchildren all colored eggs. A few weeks after my husband died, we prepared to celebrate Easter. We got together for the children to color eggs. It was nice to have everyone together.

I remember one Easter that I hosted the family dinner I did not have any extra candy so I hid colored Easter eggs and hid money inside plastic eggs. None of the children were the wiser.

Today I came across a joke someone posted that made me laugh. It said, “When I was growing up the eggs were larger than they are today — and they had stockings in them! I remember those. I bought my stockings that way. I also had two golden eggs that I got from Weatherbird shoes. I always put something special in those.

The whole family used to hunt. We had a few little gifts as well as candy. The gifts always had names on them so that the person they were intended for found them. My husband’s birthday was Easter Sunday one year. We hid his birthday presents around Grandma’s yard. I remember that it was not easy to hide a six-foot ladder.

As the grandchildren got older, we had to come up with something different. I made a scavenger hunt for each of them to find the things I had hidden for them. Since they did not all read, I used some pictures. It was so much fun that they asked me to do it again the following year.

When doing my research, I also found out about the origin of Easter baskets. Families packed food into a basket and took it to church to be blessed. After they returned, they emptied the basket and allowed the children to use it to collect eggs so that they would not get broken.

Families have their own customs. When I was growing up, I had two baskets. We got the candy from a little candy store on the corner of Park Avenue and Fourth Street. Mrs. Rapp made delicious candy. The fillings were so creamy. That is the only kind of candy I had as a child growing up so I was spoiled. Even back then my favorite was the dark chocolate. I was sorry when she closed her shop. Her candy was like none others.

When we had children, our daughter got my basket and my son got his father’s. The extra basket was done for my husband and I. Grandma brought over baskets for the grandchildren. She had her own system. She tied blue yarn on the one for Todd and purple yarn on the one for Jill.

Don’t tell anyone, but I think I will make some of my own candy this year. I have a good recipe for fondant that I used to make all of the time. I sent for some oils to flavor my candy.

Blessings — our church will be open this Easter Sunday! I hear that we will finally be able to sing, too. Halleluiah!

Ann Swanson writes from her home in Russell, Pa. Contact at hickoryheights1@verizon.net.

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