The History of Easter Eggs
Dyeing Easter eggs is a long-standing tradition that goes back hundreds of years. It is believed that Persians first colored eggs, followed by ancient Egyptians and then Greeks. In all of these cultures, colored eggs were exchanged to celebrate the arrival of spring. Eventually, colored eggs became a symbol of fertility and rebirth of nature.
The idea of dyeing eggs was brought into the New World in the 1700s, but didn’t really catch on for over 100 years. Back then, the process of dyeing eggs was very time consuming and many people didn’t have the supplies or resources necessary to pull it off. Natural ingredients were used to produce color by boiling them to create a liquid stain. Things like onion skins, tree bark, coffee and beets were most commonly used to color eggs before store-bought dye was available.
The idea for selling packaged dye is credited to William M. Townley, who worked as a druggist in a New Jersey pharmacy. Suddenly, coloring eggs became easier and more affordable for everyone.
If you’d like to try your hand at coloring Easter eggs the old-fashioned way, the Farmers’ Almanac has some tips to help. It suggests using fruits, veggies and plants as the base to create your color; use items like grass cuttings, blueberries, carrots, canned cherries and spinach leaves.
Happy Easter, everyone!