Why Do People Paint Eggs for Easter? The Tradition Is More Multicultural than You'd Think

Why Do People Paint Eggs for Easter? The Tradition Is More Multicultural than You'd Think
Source: AP
Source: AP

There are many traditions associated with the Christian holiday of Easter, whether it's eating bunny-shaped chocolates — or really bunnies in general — or dressing in pastels. But many of these are not Christian in origin (i.e., they're not in the Bible). The common Easter activity of painting eggs, for example, actually predates Christianity.

Read more: Pope Francis Has an Easter Message on World Peace Everyone Needs to Hear


Source: Giphy

According to the History Channel's website, painting hard-boiled eggs was originally a Pagan tradition: "The egg, an ancient symbol of new life, has been associated with pagan festivals celebrating spring." 

The Huffington Post's Jahnabi Barooah notes that "For thousands of years, Iranians and others have decorated eggs on Nowruz, the Iranian New Year that falls on the spring equinox."

Easter became associated with egg painting sometime in the 13th century, according to the History Channel — perhaps a byproduct of the Byzantine Empire. The Easter egg had become a symbol for Jesus Christ's resurrection, of him emerging from the tomb. "Eggs were formerly a forbidden food during the Lenten season," the History Channel's website explains. "So people would paint and decorate them to mark the end of the period of penance and fasting, then eat them on Easter as a celebration."

"Painting Easter eggs is an especially beloved tradition in the Orthodox and Eastern Catholic churches where the eggs are dyed red to represent the blood of Jesus Christ that was shed on the cross," Barooah wrote.

So that's the story of the incredible, edible and painted egg. 

How much do you trust the information in this article?

Andrew Leung

Andrew was an editorial fellow at Mic. He is based in New York and can be reached at aleungnyc@gmail.com

MORE FROM

Dozens killed in deadly car bomb attack in Kabul

The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the deadly attack.

‘Hot Mic’ podcast: Democratic brand, WH Communications Director, Jared Kushner to be questioned

Here are the important stories to know for Monday, July 24

New White House communications director Scaramucci says press briefings should be on-camera

If the new White House communications director gets his way, the press briefings could soon be recorded once again.

At least 8 dead, 30 injured in locked tractor trailer outside Walmart in Texas

Authorities told press that the deaths were caused by "a human trafficking crime."

Amid new revelations, here’s what we’ve learned about the Russian lawyer who met with Trump Jr.

The picture of Natalia Veselnitskaya is coming into clearer focus.

Republican Senator urges whoever leaked Russia/Sessions phone calls to release whole conversation

Sen. Chuck Grassley wants the person who leaked intelligence about Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak to come forward with more information.

Dozens killed in deadly car bomb attack in Kabul

The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the deadly attack.

‘Hot Mic’ podcast: Democratic brand, WH Communications Director, Jared Kushner to be questioned

Here are the important stories to know for Monday, July 24

New White House communications director Scaramucci says press briefings should be on-camera

If the new White House communications director gets his way, the press briefings could soon be recorded once again.

At least 8 dead, 30 injured in locked tractor trailer outside Walmart in Texas

Authorities told press that the deaths were caused by "a human trafficking crime."

Amid new revelations, here’s what we’ve learned about the Russian lawyer who met with Trump Jr.

The picture of Natalia Veselnitskaya is coming into clearer focus.

Republican Senator urges whoever leaked Russia/Sessions phone calls to release whole conversation

Sen. Chuck Grassley wants the person who leaked intelligence about Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak to come forward with more information.