The Symbolism of the Egg

Photo of Egg

As Easter approaches, it’s natural to think a little about eggs!

In days gone by the egg, due to its shape, was a symbol of the earth. Thanks to its obvious association with the beginning of life, it has also been the basis of many ancient creation stories. It has been a symbol of fertility, rebirth and the cycle of life. These latter symbols are so close to what Springtime is all about that it’s no wonder it’s been an important part of Spring celebrations since pre-Christian times.

As Europe became Christian, eggs became a symbol of Easter and the resurrection of Jesus. In the past, Christians gave up eggs for Lent (the 40 days before Easter when it’s customary to give up different types of food). But even though people didn’t eat them, the hens kept laying them! So people would hard boil and decorate them. This would help preserve them longer and serve as part of the holiday festivities.

The egg is also part of the Jewish Passover holiday that takes place in the Spring. The egg is placed on the Seder plate and is a symbol of sacrifice and loss. Yet to some it also symbolizes the full cycle of life, and therefore hope and rebirth. (The egg is a more recent addition to the Seder plate compared to the other symbolic items that are found there and its symbolic meaning seems to be more open to interpretation.)

In China, red eggs are given out at the one month birthday of a new baby. It’s customary to hold a Red Egg and Ginger Party at this time. Once again, the source seems to be the egg’s role as a symbol of fertility and the beginning of life.

So here we come full circle (or oval) with the egg as a wonderful symbol of birth, renewal and rebirth. This is something wonderful to consider as Springtime approaches in the northern hemisphere, where the Earth will soon come back to life!

Feel free to let us know about any special symbolism of the egg in your culture in the comments below.

This article was posted on Saturday, February 23rd, 2008 at 4:22 pm and is filed under Austria, Belgium, Birth Customs, Bulgaria, China, Countries & Cultures, Customs and Traditions, Czech Republic, Denmark, Easter, Easter Eggs, England, France, Germany, Greece, Holidays Around the World, Hong Kong, Mama Lisa, Passover, Poland, Red Egg and Ginger Parties, Romania, Russia, Scotland, Seasonal, Seder, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spring, United Kingdom, USA, Wales. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

7 Responses to “The Symbolism of the Egg”

  1. Vidu Says:

    In hinduism the egg is symbol is related to the Lingam – the oval shape which si the formless shape of god. The lingam also represents light

  2. Monica Varnass Says:

    Interesting story about the egg. I never knew this and now have something to tell the kids. Thanks for this.

  3. Tinker Jack Says:

    Dear Mama Lisa,

    You are so amazing! I wish I could see your face once!!! Who are you???? I guess you are dressed in white, you have wings like for Mother Goose and you are very nice….

    one of your fan from Budapest

  4. Lisa Says:

    Emanuela wrote from Italy:

    Certo, mia cara. I pulcini e ogni cucciolo che esce dall’uovo richiama alla vita nuova. Anche per i cristiani é segno di Gesù che risorge dal sepolcro.

    Of course, my dear. The chicks and every puppy that comes from the egg reminds us of new life. Even for Christians is a sign of Jesus who rises from the grave.

  5. emanuela Says:

    Very good, Lisa.

  6. Lisa Yannucci Says:

    Purabi wrote from Bangladesh:

    Thanks Lisa for making me informed of so many new things about eggs. In our childhood when we used 2 go 2 visit our grandparents n other elderly relatives they would give us eggs as a symbol of love n affection. Those were not bought eggs, their own produced ones.

  7. Lovely Says:

    I Love It when I Come Across Stuff Like This

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