Greek Orthodox and Easter Eggs

My greek friend was telling me about the tradition of the red eggs. He said that Mary brought a basket of eggs and placed it under the cross. Christ’s blood dripped onto the eggs and then Jesus told her to dye eggs red in memory of him.

This isn’t in the scriptures. Is my friend correct about the details? Where did this tradition come from?

Thanks for your help!

There are many traditions dealing with Easter Eggs. One Slavic tradition tells basically the same story but it was the tears of Mother of God that fell on the eggs that caused the multi colored dots on the eggs.

In another one, Simon the Syrenian was carrying a basket of eggs to sell when they grabbed him to carry Jesus’ cross. When he returned to his basket, the eggs had turned all the different colors.

These stories developed after the various nationalities became Christians. The art of egg decorating and egg dyeing had been around for centuries before this. Eggs had been exchanged during the Spring Equinox to welcome back the Sun god and as a wish for a fertile spring and good & bountiful crops.

Hope this helps…

That is my basic understanding. Coloring eggs was a pagan tradition that got folded into Christianity.

The tradition of St. Mary Magdalene and the Red Egg.

From the writings of the New Testament, we know only a few
things about Mary Magdalene. First she is seen in Luke as being
released from seven demons by Jesus. Also Mary, one of Myrrh
Bearing women, was the first to see the risen Christ (John 20). Because
of this the church honors Mary Magdalene as a saint and calls
her Myrrh-Bearer and Equal-To-The-Apostles. Passed on through
the tradition of the Church we are told that shortly after the resurrection
of Christ, Mary traveled to Rome and gained an audience
with Emperor Caesar Tiberius (14-37 AD). She denounced Pilate,
who had been placed in power by Tiberius, for his handling of Jesus’
trial. She began to talk about Jesus’ resurrection. Picking up a
hen’s egg from the dinner table, she used it to illustrate her point
about resurrection. During the Jewish Passover, the egg is cracked
and eaten as a symbol of new life. Traditionally, in the Church, the
egg is used as a teaching tool of the resurrection. The shell illustrating
the tomb which gives way to new life, the resurrected Christ.
Tiberius was unmoved and replied that there was as much chance of
a human being returning to life as there was for the egg to turn red.
Immediately, the egg turned red in her hand! This is why Orthodox
Christians exchange red eggs at Easter. It is said that Tiberius removed
Pilate from Jerusalem to Gaul, where he died of a horrible

Christ is risen!

It is…

There have been egg-shaped tombs excavated in central Slovakia that contained the remains of decorated eggs.

Red dyed eggs have been found in Egyptian tombs.

People colored eggs for a thousand years before the coming of Christianity and the “new” religion just adapted itself to ancient pagan customs…

Christos Anesti !

My favorite is this: "Mary Magdalene was the first one to see Jesus risen from the dead and she went around the world to spread the happy news. She reached Rome and Emperor Tiberius’s palace. According to the tradition, everyone visiting him was supposed to carry a gift to the Emperor.

"The rich people were carrying expensive gifts while the poor ones offered whatever they could afford. Mary Magdalene took an egg to Tiberius’s palace and handed it to the Emperor with the following greeting: ‘Christ has risen from the dead!’ The Emperor could not believe what he heard and responded: ‘How could anyone ever rise from the dead?! It is as impossible as that white egg to turn red right now!’

“While Tiberius was talking, the egg in Mary Magdalene’s hands started changing its color until it finally became bright red. The Easter greeting ever since has remained ‘Christ has risen from the dead’ and Christians all over the world color eggs in red (and various other colors) for Easter to celebrate their belief in the resurrection.”

P.S. The red eggs are also delightfully featured in this video, including the traditional tapping of one’s egg against the eggs of another person.

Something else:

Eggs are one of the food traditionally abstained from during the fast.

It is supposed to be (not by law but by domestic custom) the last food eaten before Lenten fast begins, and the first food eaten to break it on Pascha.

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