Unlike Easter’s clear religious meaning, there are several ideas about the origins of some of the more fanciful “traditions.” For example, Easter and colored eggs are about rebirth and rabbits are a symbol of fertility. Children used to believe that rabbits laid eggs in the grass, so Easter egg hunts were born. Coloring and decorating eggs may have come from Greece, Rome, Persia and Egypt where the practice was common. Europeans in the middle ages gave decorated eggs as gifts. Rolling eggs down hills may be connected to the symbolism of rolling the rock away from Jesus’ tomb. Some think that President Madison’s wife, Dolley Madison, heard that Egyptian children rolled eggs against the pyramids, so she organized an Easter egg roll for children down the Capitol lawn. The event moved to the White House in 1880 after complaints that the Capitol lawn was being ruined. Lucky children 12 and under can still wander the White House lawn on Easter Monday looking for eggs. In small towns, those who’d dressed up for Easter would stroll through the town after services, perhaps inspiring Easter parades!
We hear that Kool-Aid makes a good dye, without vinegar. We haven’t tried it yet, but we will!
There are lots of ways to make unique egg decorations.
You can dye eggs one color, then take a paint brush dipped in another solid color and tap the handle to shake the paint on the brush over the egg to produce unique splatter marks (watch out Picasso!).
Tie-dyed eggs can be made by wrapping your egg in a paper towel soaked lightly in vinegar and then putting food coloring onto the paper towels–two or three colors at a time and letting the towel stay wrapped on the egg for a few minutes before carefully removing it.
You can make mod-striped eggs by wrapping a wide rubber band around the egg before dying it, leaving a swath of white egg contrasting with the dye color.
Paint your eggs with toothpicks by dying and then dipping the end of the toothpick in a small dab of paint.