Easter is celebrated by many people around the world for various reasons. Though it is typically known as a Christian holiday, some of the symbols (like the rabbit and the egg) have pagan roots. As Christianity made its way across Europe, and paganism was overtaken, some of the traditions changed their symbolic ways to align more with Christianity, and the Easter egg is one of them.
An Easter egg hunt is a game where decorated eggs are hidden for children to find. These eggs can be real, hard boiled eggs that are decorated with paints or dyes, or they can be made from chocolate and covered in colored foil. Many of the Easter egg hunts today involve brightly colored plastic eggs that are filled with candy or prizes. After the children, or adults, collect all of the eggs, prizes are awarded for categories such as who collected the most eggs, who found the smallest egg, or various other achievements.
The European Roots
The egg was once considered to represent re-birth and the coming of spring, but early Christians redefined the Easter egg as a symbol of the resurrection of Christ. Some believe that the egg was symbolic of the tomb from which Christ arose, and that some of the earliest Easter egg hunts in Europe were done by Martin Luther, the Protestant Christian reformer. The hunt for the egg represented the search to find Him at the resurrection, and the joy that came from the search.
The U.S. Roots
The earliest roots of Easter egg hunting in the United States dates back to the 1700’s when the Pennsylvania Dutch told tales of an egg-laying rabbit called Osterhase. According to legend, Osterhase laid eggs in the grass. Children were encouraged to build grass nests for Osterhase, and then to search for the eggs he left behind. Osterhase eventually became the Easter Bunny, and though he is not known to lay eggs, he is known to bring them and hide them in the grass for children to discover with glee.
The Hunt Continues
Though no one really knows who held the first egg hunt, or where it was held, the tradition lives on today all around the world. The chocolate company Cadbury has an annual Easter egg hunt, and there is an annual Easter egg roll at The White House each year on Easter Monday.
Some egg hunts have nothing to do with Easter, but are done at parties or for fun. The largest egg hunt to date is in the Guinness Book of World Records. It was performed in Georgia in 1985, with 80,000 eggs hidden in a town of 950.
Whatever the significance or reason, it’s always a good time to discover something new. Like all of the fresh and springtime soups that SoLé SoupS has to offer. Why not make it a new tradition?