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Easter eggs are special eggs that are often given to celebrate Easter or springtime.
The oldest tradition is to use dyed and painted chicken eggs, but a modern custom is to substitute chocolate eggs, or plastic eggs filled with confectionery
The custom of the 'Easter egg', originated in the early Christians of Mesopotamia, who stained eggs red in memory of the blood of Christ, shed at his crucifixion.
The Christian Church officially adopted the custom regarding the eggs as a symbol of the resurrection, in 1610 (A.D.).
In Christianity, Easter eggs symbolize the empty tomb of Jesus:
- though an egg appears to be like the 'stone' of a tomb,
- a bird hatches from it with life; so the Easter egg, for Christians,
- is a reminder that Jesus rose from the grave,
- and that those who believe will also experience 'eternal' life.
But the practice of decorating eggshell is ancient, pre-dating the Christian tradition of Easter.
Eggs, in general, have been a traditional symbol of fertility, and rebirth.
Ostrich eggs with engraved decoration that are over 60,000 years old have been found in Africa.
Decorated ostrich eggs, and representations of ostrich eggs in gold and silver, were commonly placed in graves of the ancient Egyptians over 5,000 years ago.
Easter eggs have inspired the form of many similar objects - both precious and mundane, including chocolate eggs, monuments, and the famous Fabergé eggs.