The Anglican Parish of Haliburton

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What's the connection between eggs and Easter?

Eggs and Easter, dyeing and resurrection?

So that may be a lame one, but is there any connection?

The 40-day season of Lent officially begins Ash Wednesday. With our Catholic friends, Anglicans worldwide traditionally ‘celebrate’ this day. But few of us can match our historical counterparts in observing any kind of Lenten fast, which traditionally also begins then.

Such, by the way, is the historical reason for Shrove Tuesday, the term used in many English-speaking countries for the day before. The word shrove, past tense of the old English verb shrive, referred to obtaining absolution for one's sins. In other words, Christians were expected to go to confession in preparation for the penitential season of turning to God.

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An early church tradition advised abstention from anything killed, and the produce—like milk and eggs—of those animals.In pre-refrigeration days, that meant a lot of food had to be consumed so it wouldn't go bad during the weeks leading up to Easter. So many families would whip the household's perishables into pancakes the day before Lent. The day thus became known as "Pancake Tuesday", which in some quarters morphed into Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday).

Eggs—unlike milk and meat—do not perish quickly. Since hens would continue laying them during Lent, an egg feast was a natural way to break the fast on Easter Sunday. And to deal with the abundant eggs,  presenting them as gifts Easter morning became and continues to be a large part of the heritage.

Curious, isn't it, how the feast part has stayed and even grown, while any subsequent fasting has shriveled to almost nothing?

(You can read some of the theories behind the egg-Easter connection in an article posted by Christianity Today's ChristianHistory.net.)