by Andrew Pacholyk MS L.Ac ~
I remember every Easter week, my brother Steven and I would sit down with our mother and color eggs for Easter. It was certainly a family tradition and something we cherish still, to this day. Coloring and decorating the eggs was my favorite Easter treat (along with my Nana’s homemade chocolate peanut butter eggs, of course!).
What would always make the coloring so much fun would be the way in which we did it. Instead of using powdered dyes and food coloring they sold in the stores, we would gather a host of fruits, flowers and vegetable to use as natural coloring!
First, be sure and hard boil your eggs. We would usually use 1-2 dozen, boiled for about 7-10 minutes.
Second, after the eggs have cooled, Use a white crayon to draw signs, symbols or any desired pattern or shape on to the outer shell.
Remember, the longer you soak the eggs (30 minutes or more) in the dye the more intense and deeper the egg’s color becomes and the symbols will stand out even more.
Create an “egg dipper” with paper clips or wire. Bend the wire into a circle and then create the upright handle in an “L” shape. Place each egg into the circle and lower the egg into the dye. When you are ready to take it out, scoop the wire circle back under the egg and lift it out. You can perch the wet eggs on top of the egg carton to dry.
In order to bring out a “little more shine” to your eggs, add a teaspoon of vegetable oil on a paper towel. Once the eggs are colored and dried, lightly massage the paper towel around the egg, so a light oil sheen covers the egg.
When you are finished making your creations, be sure and refrigerate them so they don’t spoil.
You can add additional “pop” by drawing patterns, flowers, animals or anything else your heart desires with crayons. Just be sure the eggs are completely dry before becoming Picasso.
Below is a list of nature’s gifts we would use to create a rainbow of colors:
Red: beet juice, red cabbage juice, cherries crushed with juice, pomegranate juice or raspberries
Pink: cranberry juice. You can also use the above red foods but do not leave them in the dye as long
Blue: blueberries crushed with juice. You can also crush violet blossoms and add a cup of hot water to them.
Soak the eggs overnight.
Lavender: grape juice
Yellow: can be achieved by adding 1 teaspoon of turmeric, ground cumin or saffron, 1/2 teaspoon of vinegar to 1 cup boiling water. Dissolve the herb, then let the water cool before you dip your eggs. You can also boil 4 tablespoons of yellow onion skins, then let the water cool before dipping the eggs.
Green: can be achieved by boiling spinach leaves. Let the water stand until cooled. Strain out the leaves and dip the eggs for an hour. Another option is to dip the eggs in liquid chlorophyll, which is available in most health food stores.
Orange: can be achieved by adding 1 teaspoon of chili powder or paprika, 1/2 teaspoon of vinegar to 1 cup boiling water. Dissolve the herb, then let the water cool before you dip your eggs.
Brown: can be achieved by dipping eggs in espresso or strong coffee.
Remember, your egg is a very powerful tool, rich in history and symbolism, representing “new life” everywhere in the world. The “World Egg” is an ancient story about how the Universe “hatched” and the Hindu’s believe the yolk became heaven and the white became earth. The Shinto believed the entire Universe was contained in a huge egg, standing upright. In Alchemy, the Philosopher’s Egg represents the seed of spiritual life and a place where great change or transformation occurs.
The pre-Christian fertility Goddess, Eostre, was celebrated for her life giving abilities through the power of the hormone, estrogen. A goddess in Germanic and Celtic tradition, Eostre is the namesake of the festival of Easter. In her various forms, she is a spring-like fertility goddess associated with dawn. In both the Celtic and Russian traditions, placing eggs on burial sites or burying their dead with eggs, reinforced the fact that the egg was a powerful symbol of immortality, resurrection and rebirth!
The Christian concept of Easter connects the holiday of Easter with the renewal of life through the egg. It is a representative of the renewal, resurrection and rebirth of Christ.