Easter Egg Hunts

That Easter Eggs are a symbol of new life shouldn't come as any surprise.

The notion that the Earth itself was hatched from an egg was once widespread and appears in the creation myths of numerous cultures. Consider the chick emerging from its dormant shell . . . no wonder the egg was a symbol of rebirth and adopted by early Christians as a symbol of the rebirth or resurrection.

In ancient times in Northern Europe, eggs were a potent symbol of fertility used in pagan rituals to guarantee a woman's ability to bear children.

In my 'neck of the woods', lay midwives/healers in the Appalachian mountains (aka, "grannywomen") often use eggs to predict the gender of an unborn child by observing the direction of the rotation of an egg as it is suspended by a string over the abdomen of a pregnant woman.  Their accuracy is uncanny.

Dyed and decorated eggs are given as gifts in many cultures. Colorful eggs express a wish for prosperity and abundance during the upcoming year.

The "the Burning Times" in Europe (think 'witch trials') when pagan followers of the "Old Religion" were being shunned and persecuted, led to the development of the Easter egg hunt. Deflecting attention from their status as pagans that giving eggs as gifts would bring, they cleverly made a game of hiding them for the children instead.

Rumor has it that sometimes the authorities who sought to find and punish the "heathens" would follow or bribe the children to reveal where they found the eggs so that the property owner could be brought to justice. So the hunts were often moved to public property and held as a community event.

Read more about the History of Easter at Goddess Gift