COMMENTARY | Growing up, we were never more aware of our slight Ukrainian heritage than around Easter. The highlight of the day was the infamous “egg cracking contest.” We would each take our dyed hard-boiled egg and knock against that of a family member’s. The one whose egg cracked was the loser, while the winner would advance to the next round, until we found the toughest egg. We ate the winners and losers, of course.
It turns out that (1) this annual event was borrowed by the Ukraine from the Greeks, who use it to symbolize Jesus coming out from the tomb. Here are eleven other things you may not know about Easter.
(2) The word “Easter” is never mentioned in the Bible, according to Erin Wisdom in the article “Easter Eggs and an Empty Tomb,” published in the St. Joseph’s News-Press in 2009.
(3) There is some debate about the origin of the word Easter. Some say it is based upon “Ishtar” from the Babylonians or “Eostre” from the Anglo-Saxons. Both are springtime celebrations in those countries, according to Erin Wisdom in her article.
(4) Zoroastrians decorated eggs for their New Year’s holiday more than 2,500 years ago.
(5) Perhaps for that very reason, eggs were forbidden during Lent by Christians for years, according to Barbara Quinn with the Monterey County Herald in a 2010 article. But now they are associated with new life, seen during the resurrection of Jesus.
(6) Eggs aren’t just good for holiday fun and holy messages. They are one of the best foods you can eat. “The egg is considered the ‘gold standard’ to which other protein foods are measured,” Quinn writes.
(07) Don’t touch eggs with your bare hands, unless you’ve washed them. The shells are relatively porous, and can allow bacteria in.
(08) Boil the eggs, and leave them covered in the covered pan for 15 minutes. Vinegar will help keep the dye, says Quinn in her piece.
(09) Hot crossed buns were an early Christian meal for Easter. They were designed for the less fortunate in society, according to a 2012 Easter article for the International Business Times.
(10) Chocolate eggs were introduced to Easter in the early 19th century, according to the International Business Times article.
(11) In the same article, a survey by the National Confectioners Association reveals that chocolate eggs remain the most popular Easter sweet. Nearly 75 percent of people prefer eating the chocolate bunny first by the ears. Kids prefer yellow peeps and red jelly beans to others of their type. But adults like milk chocolate over dark chocolate, by a 3:1 count!
(12) In the International Business Times article, the author says almost 88 percent of parents will put a decorated Easter basket out for kids.