Easter Prep: Stunning Eggs
Easter Eggs have a long and wonderful place in the Christian story.
Eggs have long been part of the celebration of Christ's Resurrection. An egg is a symbol of life and fertility, but the hallowed out form takes the symbolism one step further. It represents the empty tomb of the Resurrected Christ, which is why they have such a prized place at our Easter tables.
The most famous Easter eggs are the Faberge eggs, made by the House of Faberge under the supervision of Peter Carl Faberge between 1885-1917. Several of these jewel encrusted treasures were made for Tsars Alexander III and Nicholas II as Easter gifts for wives and mothers. Of the 50 "Imperial" eggs, 43 still exist. There were two planned as gifts for Easter 1917, but were tragically never delivered because of the Soviet Revolution and the execution of the Romanov Family.
While most of us don't intend to make something like a Faberge egg for Easter, PAAS has long been the go-to option for most egg decorating. Who doesn't have memories of colored fingers smelling of vinegar after making a set on Holy Saturday? Cups of colored liquid strewn across the counter. Yes, plenty of advances and innovations have been made since those messy years (my favorite is the plastic decorative sleeves you put over an egg and boil, sealing upon it a lovely design).
However, I just ran across a decorating set that runs circles around PAAS. Sold by CWD Kids (and probably elsewhere) this set uses the Ukrainian pysanky (or pisanki in Polish) style of egg decorating. Recommended for children 8+, it uses wax, layers of color, and traditional symbols such as flowers, animals, and decorative flourishes for the decorating process. The end result is a whole new level of homemade Easter egg.
As much as I love the idea of this set, I'm afraid I won't be purchasing it given my allergy to crafts. I did the next best thing and ordered this sweet set of hand-painted wooden eggs from the Monastery Icon catalogue. The five brightly colored eggs also come with a brief history of the Easter egg. As the legend goes, Mary Magdalene had some boiled eggs in her basket when she went to tomb of Christ and when she saw him, they turned red.
Another legend about the egg applies to Jesus' Ascension. The Virgin Mary is said to have gone to the Roman Emperor and greeted him with "Christ is Risen!' The Emperor responded, "Christ has no more risen than that egg is red." Immediately upon his reply, the egg on his plate turned red.
The Monastery Icon catalogue has a remarkable array of hand-painted eggs for very budget, including those made of glass, porcelain, crystal, and real egg. I also debated ordering an additional set, these blue eggs, that come on a decorative plate. They also come in the traditional red.
One of my favorite children's book that features Easter eggs is The Easter Egg by Jan Brett. Each page adds to the feast of beautiful eggs, one more beautiful than the next. Jan Brett is one of my favorite children's authors because she has a lovely way of expanding her stories by tucking images on the sides of each page that add to the story's unfolding.
I found this fun video of Jan Brett talking about her book, the animals in it, and some of the inspiration for it. Unfortunately, she doesn't quite get the theology behind the feast, but the story is still very sweet and the illustrations are endearing. Great for an Easter basket.