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[teacherartexchange] Symbolism of "Easter Egg"

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From: Judy Decker (judy.decker_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Thu Mar 09 2006 - 04:28:29 PST


Greetings Randy and all,

Yes, the Easter Egg is a Christian symbol.... However, the symbolism
of the egg predates Christianity. It was originally a Pagan
symbol.... and a symbol of re-birth in many cultures, including the
Ukraine (also a symbol of the sun for the Ukraine).

Here is the Christian symbolism:

"The custom of having Easter eggs is very widespread, so much so that
the Christian meaning has been all but forgotten. Of course, these
Easter eggs are symbols of the Risen Christ. As a chick breaks the
shell when it is hatched and begins life, so Our Lord comes forth
living from the tomb. Consequently, it is a good custom to paint
figures of Christ, the Easter Lamb, etc. on the colored eggs. Many of
the other symbols which the Church uses in her liturgy may be used
also."
This is copied from this site:
http://www.catholicculture.org/lit/activities/view.cfm?id=576
(I am claiming "Fair Use" in my citing of this information - retrieved 3/9/06)

Here is the original symbolism in the Ukraine:
http://www.uazone.net/holidays/EasterEggs.html
I did research on this before... and I think this is accurate.

Summary of symbolism of egg (lists some ancient cultures and myths):
http://www.theholidayspot.com/easter/history/icons/easter_egg.htm

A Brief Summary:

"Before the egg became closely entwined with the Christian Easter, it
was honored during many rite-of-Spring festivals. The Romans, Gauls,
Chinese, Egyptians and Persians all cherished the egg as a symbol of
the universe. From ancient times eggs were dyed, exchanged and shown
reverence.

"In Pagan times the egg represented the rebirth of the earth. The
long, hard winter was over; the earth burst forth and was reborn just
as the egg miraculously burst forth with life. The egg, therefore, was
believed to have special powers. It was buried under the foundations
of buildings to ward off evil; pregnant young Roman women carried an
egg on their persons to foretell the sex of their unborn children;
French brides stepped upon an egg before crossing the threshold of
their new homes."
This is copied from:
http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/8149/egg.html

A couple years ago, I posted the origin of Easter symbols to Art4Peace.
If anyone wants those links, I will re-check them and post them here.

Thanks for bringing this topic to Getty list..... I think it is
important to teach the symbolism....and make connections to many
cultures.

Regards,

Judy Decker

On 3/9/06, Randy Menninghaus wrote:
> Some issues to think about.
> It is clearly a Christian art experience, which brings religion in to play.
> It is designed to drive evil out of the world.
> It is taken very seriously by the egg artists from the Ukraine.
> It involves using an open flame(candle), which is illegal now in my state.
> It involves lots of skill and steady hands.
> the first time I did this with student I had a Mom from the Ukraine(15
> years ago) come in to my class.
> Now we only do it on the rare occasion after school .
> Randy in Maine

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