Eggs and Easter are practically synonymous, although with the rising cost of eggs people may be rethinking their Easter traditions this year.
In December 2022, Statistics Canada reported that egg prices rose by 16.5 per cent in Canada and while that is a large spike, shoppers in the United States are experiencing even more extreme price increases. In the past year, prices have risen nearly 60 per cent, bringing the cost for a dozen eggs to about $6 US ($8 Canadian) in some areas.
Daily Hive Canada is calling this phenomenon eggflation, while Narcity quoted one TikToker saying, “eggs are the new avocados.” The truth is, global economic uncertainty is affecting every facet of life—from grocery shopping to fuel prices and even dating—so while the focus is on eggs right now, its impacting everything we do.
This year, people may be scaling back their traditional Easter feasting and celebrations to compensate for our financial reality, but it doesn’t make Easter any less meaningful.
Here’s a look at the symbolism of eggs at Easter and how we can incorporate what it represents into our celebration even without eggs.
What eggs symbolize at Easter
Traditionally, Catholic and Orthodox Christians would fast from certain foods during the lenten season. This included eggs, milk products or condiments made from animal fat. Therefore, indulging in eggs on Easter Sunday (when Lent ended) was a special treat and something to look forward to.
And for those people observing Lent with laying hens, they needed a way to preserve the eggs until after their fasting period. Many chose the practical solution of hard boiling eggs so they would keep, and it is said the tradition of painting or colouring the eggs while waiting for Easter Sunday could have come from this perserving practice.
Here is additional symbolism we can draw from the egg:
- Ancient and/or pagan cultures from Mesopotamia and Crete viewed eggs as representative of new life. This idea was likely influential to Early Christians living in the same regions
- From a Christian worldview, the egg can symbolize the Trinity (Father-Son-Holy Spirit; Shell-Yolk-Albumen [egg white])
- The cracking of an egg shell can represent the stone being rolled away from the tomb on Easter Sunday (Matthew 28:2)
- The Easter egg hunt can be thought of as a symbolic search for Jesus’ body when they discovered it missing from the tomb (John 20)
Egg alternatives to try this Easter
While eggs carry a lot of traditional symbolism during this season, there are other meaningful ways to observe Easter without literal eggs.
This could include egg alternatives such as plastic eggs, egg-shaped treats (think chocolate, cookies, cakes, etc.), paper or felt eggs and more.
But if you’re looking to move outside the egg-arena, here are a few suggestions.
- Conversation: Talk with your family or friends about what Easter means to you and why it matters in your life and faith
- Read: Spend time slowly reading or re-reading the Easter story in John 18-20, taking time to reflect
- Pray: Consider what Jesus’ death and resurrection means to you, and how it impacts the way you live
- Worship: Set aside time to sing or praise God for what He has done for us.
- Sunrise Service: Find a quiet place to watch the sunrise or attend a Sunrise Service at a local church. Pay attention to the rays of light that begin taking over the darkness and reflect on how Jesus is the Light of the world. His conquering of death and darkness on Easter Sunday allows us to have eternal life. He Is Risen!
No matter what symbols you choose to connect Easter with, the point is to celebrate the new life we have because of Christ. No one could have guessed what God had planned when He sent Jesus to earth, and no one else could have accomplished such a decisive victory.
As long as we stay focused on the real reason we celebrate, the specific emblem shouldn’t matter.