From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Easter eggs are specially decorated eggs given out to celebrate the Easter holiday. The oldest tradition is to use dyed and painted chickens eggs, but the general modern custom is to substitute eggs made from chocolate. Easter eggs can be any form of confectionery such as hollow chocolate eggs wrapped in brightly-colored foil. Some are delicately constructed of spun sugar and pastry decoration techniques. The ubiquitous jelly egg (or jelly bean) is made from sugar-coated pectin candy. These are often hidden, supposedly by the Easter Bunny, for children to find on Easter morning.
Decorated eggs are much older than Easter, and both eggs and rabbits are age-old fertility symbols. The Passover Seder service uses a hard-cooked egg flavored with salt water as a symbol both of new life and the Temple service in Jerusalem. The Jewish tradition may have come from earlier Roman Spring feasts.
Easter egg origin stories abound -- one has an emperor claiming that the Resurrection was as likely as eggs turning red (see Mary Magdalene); more prosaically the Easter egg tradition may have celebrated the end of the privations of Lent.
Easter eggs are a widely popular symbol of new life in Poland and other Slavic countries folk traditions. A batik-like decorating process known as Pisanki produces intricate, brilliantly-colored eggs. The celebrated Fabergé workshops created exquisite jewelled Easter eggs for the Russian Imperial Court.
There are many other decoration techniques and numerous traditions of giving them as a token of friendship, love or good wishes. When boiling hard-cooked eggs for easter a nice colour can be achieved by boiling the eggs with onion skin.
Hidden, and often humorous features in computer programs, on DVDs, in books, or on CDs, are also called Eater eggs, baecause of the simlar hunting for hidden treats aspect. For this meaning see Easter egg (hidden).
See also Egg decorating