Whether boiled and dyed, hand painted or made from chocolate, Easter eggs are a central part of Easter celebrations. Easter eggs are found in cultures all around the world. Each country has its own folklore and legends relating to Easter eggs, as well as its own Easter egg games and traditions.
Easter Egg Hunts
The Easter egg hunt is probably the most common Easter tradition in the United States. Adults hide Easter eggs, either real ones or candy substitutes, and children compete to see who can find the most. The baskets used to hold these eggs have become a major symbol of Easter.
Although it is practiced in the U.S., with an annual egg roll on the White House lawn, the custom of egg rolling is more common in Britain and Germany. Children roll their Easter eggs down hillsides, possibly in commemoration of the stone being rolled away from Christ's tomb in the Easter story. An egg that cracks at the bottom of the hill is said to bring good luck.
In Northern England and many countries in Eastern Europe, children play a game called egg tapping, egg dumping or egg jarping. The players knock their hard-boiled eggs together; the player whose egg cracks first is the loser.
In Russia and Eastern Europe, Easter eggs are often elaborately decorated, with hand-painted designs of religious images or spring scenes. The most famous examples of this tradition are the Faberge eggs. Decorated with gold and enamel, these were manufactured by the Faberge jewelry firm to be given as Easter gifts; the most famous were made for the tsars of Russia.
Easter Egg Folklore
In the English-speaking world, the Easter Bunny is said to be responsible for hiding Easter eggs for children to find. In other parts of the world, however, the legend is different. In France, for example, folklore has it that church bells, which do not ring over the Easter weekend, fly to Rome during this period. When they return, to be rung during the Easter celebrations, they carry Easter eggs with them.