Catholic Activity: Decorating Easter Eggs
Here are some ideas for putting Christ back into the Easter egg decorations.
Very few people have not decorated eggs at one time or other in their life. Eggs are a symbol of new life, reminding us of Christ's resurrection from the dead. Just as the little chick breaks through the shell of the egg, Jesus came forth from the tomb.
Today many eggs are decorated with symbols like Easter bunnies that have very little reminders of the resurrection, what Easter is all about. To bring back the eggs to the original symbolism decorate the eggs with liturgical symbols or spiritual themes. This can used as an artistic challenge for all those budding artists in the family. There are numerous ways to decorate eggs, but one easy way is to take Crayola Crayons® (this brand works best) on a plain boiled egg. Color the egg with different designs and symbols, and then the eggs are dyed in food coloring, available at any food store. Using Crayon colors like white, yellow and other light colors to create designs on the eggs result in an interesting contrast against the darker colors of the dyes.
Some suggested symbols:
Symbols of the Resurrection: Easter lily, butterfly, peacock, bursting pomegranate, the phoenix, the sparrow, the bee, the egg, Jonah and the fish;Special eggs from the Slovakian, particularly Ukrainian tradition, called pysanky (singular: pysanka,, pronounced pis'-ahn-ka, also called in other languages: kraslice, kraseny jajcja, pysane jajce, and farbanka ,) are created through a process of dyes and wax. These are beautiful works of art, and not edible, but many decorative ideas can be used for the hard-boiled eggs until one can create true pysanky. Every mark and color on the egg has some symbolism. Some examples: ribbons, lines or repeated geometric patterns which encircle the egg with no beginning or end symbolize eternity or eternal life, animals symbolizing wishes of fertility, wheat means good health, wishes for a bountiful harvest and reminder of the Eucharist, flowers meaning love, good will and charity. Dots or circles symbolize the tears of Mary.
Easter scenes: an empty tomb, an empty cross with a white cloth hanging, lamb with banner, Christ in white garments, angels at the tomb;
Other religious symbols: crosses, doves, lambs, triangle (for the Trinity), grapes, chalice, fish, Chi-Rho, Alpha and Omega;
Joyful phrases: "Alleluia, He is Risen!" "Christ is Risen, Alleluia!", "Christus Resurrexit Alleluia!" "The Lord is Risen!", "This is the day the Lord has made, alleluia!"; "Christ has become our paschal sacrifice."
From Ukrainian Easter by Mary Ann Woloch Vaughn we find that colors on pysanky also hold special significance which can be incorporated on regular Easter eggs:
White: purity and innocenceEach family member can also decorate a personalized egg for a family members, with the person's name in part of the design. Each member should have an egg with their name that can be used as "placecards" for the Easter breakfast (especially nice in eggcups).
Yellow: wisdom, recognition, harvest and reward
Orange: strength, endurance and ambition
Red: happiness, hope or passion
Green: sign of spring, hope and innocence
Blue: good health
Purple: royal color, faith and trust
Brown: earth and mountain color, harvest color, positive symbolizing happiness
Grey: not a positive color
Black: strong color, meaning of remembrance
(©1983, Ukrainian Heritage Company, Munster, IN)
One specially decorated egg can be designed as the "Alleluia Egg," or "Golden Egg" which is usually golden or yellow, with Alleluia incorporated in the decoration. If the family has an Easter egg hunt on Easter Sunday, this egg can be the egg to win the special prize.
Supply Sources: For Ukrainian, Polish or other Slavic egg designs, you can find supplies at these shops, and others: Ukrainian Gift Shop;
Slovak Shop; and
Activity Source: Original Text (JGM) by Jennifer Gregory Miller, © Copyright 2003-2013 by Jennifer Gregory Miller