GSS NAVIGATOR AUSTRIA: The Easter egg came first

Wed, 24/03/2021

Family, bunnies and decorated eggs make up for Easter magic

Come spring, you would think of swallows, hyacinths and daffodils, and first strawberries in April. For a third of the planet, the mention of spring also evokes memories of Easter Sunday, a significant religious holiday which symbolizes re-birth and new life.

Like many other holidays, Easter comes with numerous traditions which gather families and put smiles on children faces, yet no doubt, this one is quite recognizable with its bunnies, decorated Easter baskets and colourfully dyed eggs that tie together into pastel magic. Even the name Easter hides some magic to it as it is commonly believed that Easter derives from the name Eostre, a pagan goddess of spring and fertility. The story says that Eostre found a freezing bird and turned it into a rabbit so that its fur would keep it warm. The newly-minted rabbit was warm, yet it still laid eggs like a bird and as a sign of its loyalty and love for the goddess, the rabbit painted and decorated those eggs for her.

The exact origin of colourful eggs and how they came to be attached to Easter remains open for interpretation, yet with their strong symbolism for rebirth and life, it is no wonder that eggs have a dominant position on the Easter table.

An interesting, egg-centric Easter tradition comes from Austria – the so-called Easter egg tapping battle during the family Easter breakfast or brunch. The feast typically includes hard-boiled coloured chicken eggs, fresh vegetables and a lamb-shaped cake, Osterlamm, as an additional symbol of Jesus, his sacrifice and rebirth. Before the family eat their eggs, a battle ensues. Each player holds their egg with the tip pointing up and prepares for battle. Players go against each other, tapping tip per tip, until there is only one egg left with the shell intact. This common tradition is great fun for the entire family, especially its youngest members, and if you are feeling particularly adventurous or confident, there are even egg tapping battles, complete with strict rules and regulations. Regardless of the size of the egg tapping battle, the winners typically prove their eggs are not fake by breaking and eating them at the end of the rounds.