The secret history of egg hunting


by Nicole Chen, Anjay Saklecha, and Tiffany Wong

As a child, Jane Keller enjoyed participating in Easter egg hunts in Arkansas and spending time with her family on the holiday.

“Every year my grandmother and then my mother made cupcakes in the shell of ice cream cones that looked like a basket,” Keller said. “They would dye icing green and fresh coconut green as well, so the basket would have grass; then, they put jelly beans for eggs and used pipe cleaners for the basket handle.”

Many recall Easter as the day which is symbolized by the Easter Bunny and artificially colored eggs. Although the holiday is often associated with playful traditions, Easter also holds religious significance to Christians and is one of Christianity’s most important holidays.

The history of Easter eggs is rooted in the Christian religion. Christians believe that Jesus Christ rose from the dead after being killed on the cross, an event showing the dominance of life over death. For Christians, the egg symbolizes the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

“In the past, before Christianity, there would have been no reference to Jesus or his resurrection from the dead,” World religions and philosophy teacher Dr. Ruth Meyer said. “People would not have attended church services to celebrate Easter Sunday, but there would have been nature based celebrations with eggs and rabbits.”

According to Dr. Meyer, the Saxons of Northern Europe believed in the fertility goddess, Eostre, and worshipped her during the spring equinox, a time of rebirth after the long days of the winter. Many believe that Eostre and traditions associated with her gave rise to Easter.

In the 21st century, Easter has become a commercialized holiday surrounded by the Easter Bunny, eggs and celebration, with pieces of historical background attached.

A popular celebration is the annual White House Easter Egg Roll, hosted by the First Family. This year, dubbed “Let’s Celebrate,” marks the 138th White House Easter event. Some festivities include live entertainment, sports and the tradition of rolling Easter eggs.

This piece was originally published in the pages of the Winged Post on March 23, 2016.