It wasn’t too long ago when my father brought home every year a huge, decadent dark chocolate Easter egg for my brothers and me, at least it seems not that long. Sometimes he won the egg with a raffle at his office, but often he bought it at the pastry shop. Italian pastry shops, café and delicatessen stores beautifully display Easter eggs wrapped in cheerfully colored cellophane and contrasting colored aluminum foil. Chocolatiers free their imagination when making Easter eggs in all shapes and sizes, some are even human size and all conceal a surprise. The expensive tall and large chocolate eggs conceal something valuable even gold or silver items from jewelry to knickknacks. The gift inside each chocolate egg is a reminder that the egg is a symbol of rebirth, fertility, the renewing of nature in the spring coming out from under the snow or cold weather and in the Christian world it also symbolizes the resurrection of Christ.
The modern custom of decorating Easter eggs has roots in ancient Egypt, Greece, Persia and even China. Vernal Equinox or else called Spring Equinox marks the Sun crossing directly over the Earth’s equator in the Northern Hemisphere. For thousands of years this event marked the beginning of a new year, thus it was celebrated with gifts of colored eggs and with a variety of rituals to welcome spring.
Colors have a meaning in every culture and every custom, even in decorated Easter eggs, their brilliant mixed colors in general symbolize Spring and the light of Sun, but some specific colors have a deeper meaning or carry a particular message.
Red symbolizes Christ’s blood. The legend says that Mary Magdalene made a joyful announcement to the apostles when she discovered that Christ’s tomb was empty. Incredulous Peter challenged her by saying that he would believe the news if the eggs she carried in the basket would turn red colors. So it happened.
Red eggs are very popular in Greece, while green eggs are popular in Germany and Austria. In the Eastern Europe people prefer eggs decorated with geometric designs in blue and white or red and white; in Armenia often eggs are decorated with religious effigies of Madonna and Christ and in America I see every colors, every designs and everything in between.
I do not remember not having placed at least one Fabergé egg in each of my client’s house. They are highly valuable and lend themselves well to any décor, just as the first platinum Fabergé egg decorated Tzarina Maria’s quarters at her palace, an exquisite gift Tzar Alexander commissioned just for her. Her platinum egg had a surprise in it too. Inside the platinum egg there was a golden egg, which in turn inside contained a chick and a miniature of her imperial crown.
Last year I was in Germany around this time and saw this amazing tree Mr. Volker arranges in his front yard every year with over 10,000 papier mâché eggs, while in Berlin giant Easter eggs were on display in the street. One really feels the arrival of spring and the rebirth of the spirit!
Ancient Romans said: “omne vivum ex ovo” – all the living beings originated from the egg, but does anyone know the relation between Easter and bunnies? Ciao,
Copyright © 2013 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved
Valentina Cirasola is an Italian Interior since 1990, specializing in kitchen, bath, wine cellar, and outdoor kitchen designs. Often people describe her as “the colorist” as she loves to color her clients’ world and loves to create the unusual. “Vogue” magazine and many prominent publications in California featured Valentina’s work. She also has made four appearances on T.V. Comcast Channel 15. Author of three published books, the latest RED – A Voyage Into Colors is on the subject of colors.