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Old 04-23-11   #1
Lady of the Left

Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Europe
Posts: 3,683

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Default Why we decorate eggs at easter.

To my surprise while reading about the Egyptian festival of Sham el Nessim, I found something that may be the original reason for the tradition of decorating eggs at Easter time.

Eggs for the pharos were dyed and hung in temples as emblems of regenerative life. They not only symbolize new life, but they serve as small art works to enjoy at the picnics. Dyed eggs from pharaonic times are a direct predecessor of our Easter eggs today. “This is the best part for the whole family. We usually go to the Cairo Zoo in the early morning but the first thing we do is color the eggs. We use water colors and then put them in the sun to dry so they will be ready for us to enjoy. My four year old daughter is the most talented of my children at painting these,” said Mostafa.
Sham el Nessim , literally meaning ‘sniffing the breeze’, marks the beginning of the spring. It falls immediately on the first Monday following the Coptic Easter and it was related to agriculture in ancient Egypt which contained fertility rites that were later attached to Christianity and the celebration of Easter. It is believed that the Egyptians were the first to celebrate this occasion.

"The spring festival coincided with the vernal equinox, and the ancients imagined that that day represented the beginning of creation. The date of Sham El Nessim was not fixed. Rather, it was announced every year on the night before the feast at the foot of the Great Pyramid. The feast of 'Shamo,' means 'renewal of life' which was later corrupted during the Coptic age to 'shamm' (smelling or breathing) and the word 'nessim' (breeze) was added. The ancient Egyptians first celebrated the feast of Shamo in 2700 BC, towards the end of the 3rd Dynasty." In his book, Manners and Customs of the Modern Egyptians, W.W. Lane wrote in 1834: "
The full article which makes a very interesting read can be found here.
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