Origin of Easter Egg Hunts.
For children and adults alike, the highlight of Easter is often the egg hunt. Adults and older children enjoy hiding Easter eggs for young children to find. Squeals of delight can be found as Easter egg hunters retrieve colorful eggs, candy, and other small prizes. But you may be wondering exactly where did this delightful tradition begin? To understand this annual egg hunt, it is critical to understand the origins of the Easter egg.
The Easter egg carries with it a history of traditions and beliefs. Throughout the ages, the egg has been a symbol for fertility and re-birth, as Easter has been derived from the ancient pagan spring festivals. For many people the fun of Easter is to decorate these eggs in creative ways. They are also given to friends and loved ones as presents, and have come to represent a token of friendship. Various traditional games are played with the Easter eggs, such as the annual egg hunt.
Modern tradition has the Easter bunny hiding the eggs. Contests are also held among the children, to find the maximum number of eggs. In some communities the local Easter egg hunt becomes a large event, where thousands of people participate. While the fun of Easter hunts continues, no one appears to be exactly sure of where the tradition actually started.
Records show that there is a Medieval story, told to children that rabbits, (another fertility symbol), laid eggs in the grass. Christians in southern Germany added the practice of hiding eggs in difficult to reach places. They even went as far as to put obstacles before the hiding spots. The obstacles were meant to represent the Stations of the Cross, or the trials of Jesus, on his way to crucifixion. A favorite hiding place was among thorns, symbolizing the crown of thorns that was placed on Jesus’ head. The rolling of Easter eggs may have Egyptian roots (again historians are unsure), however early Christians assumed the symbolism of the rolling of eggs, as the rolling of the rock away from the entrance of Christ’s tomb.
No matter the actual origin, it does not appear that the popularity of Easter egg hunts will diminish. If you are hosting an egg hunt this year, here are some tips to make sure that everyone can have a good time.
Separate the kids by ages-The most successful Easter hunts work when the kids are divided up by age. This way little ones (and their parents), do not have to worry about getting trampled in the rush to find the eggs. In addition, you should have easier terrain for the little ones to hunt on, and make it progressively harder for the older kids. Keep in mind that ten to twelve year olds, will prefer a challenge when looking for Easter eggs, while the youngest kids will be thrilled to find one laying on the grass. Have a variety of items to hunt for-While looking for Easter eggs is fun, you can really add some excitement to your egg hunt by adding plastic eggs that are filled with a variety of items. This can include: candy, small prizes, or even money. In addition, if you do decide to hide real eggs, make sure that any that are found are eaten immediately, or put right back into the fridge. Pet owners should also be especially careful that their pets do not help themselves to any spoils from the Easter hunts, as this can be deadly for them. Think about the needs of every child-There is no reason for any child to sit out an Easter egg hunt. Eggs with beeping sounds have been invented so that children with visual impairment can also take part in egg hunt games. Larger plastic eggs can be used as well for children who may need more visual stimulation.