Why Decorating Easter Eggs Isn’t Just For the Kids

I often think that traditions are like cement in that they help hold families together.

Our family has an Easter egg tradition that goes back three generations. If there was a recipe to follow, it would read something like this:

On Good Friday, take three dozen eggs and place them in a stockpot of cold water. Slowly bring the water to a simmer and leave the eggs until you are sure they are hard-boiled. Drain and cover them with cold water. Then set them on a towel to dry.

Once supper is cleared away, set out a number of cups, fill them half full of cold water and add a tablespoon of vinegar. Carefully drop one dye tablet into each cup.

By the time this is done, the little ones are dancing around with excitement because now is the time to colour the eggs!

We are not a family known for our artistic abilities, but each one does his or her best to make an egg that is pleasant to look at. We use wax crayons to make dots, zigzags, crosses, rainbows, butterflies or the logo of someone’s favourite sports team.

If you’re only two or three years old, there may be only squiggles. Once the drawing is done, the egg is carefully lowered into one of the cups of dye. When it comes out there are lots of oohs and ahhs.

Easter Egg Tradition - GrandsonCourtesy Marilyn Paul
Marilyn’s grandson Jeffrey decorating Easter eggs with help from his mom, Pam.

Of course there are mishaps. Sometimes, a little one squeezes the egg too hard and it cracks. Other times, an egg may slip out of eager fingers or drop too hard into the cup. No one worries about the dye getting into the egg because it is food colouring.

Once all the eggs are coloured, they are placed in cartons in the fridge to wait for the Easter Bunny to hide them. On Saturday night, when the children are asleep, the Easter Bunny hides the eggs along with some chocolate treats.

Easter morning is full of excitement as the children rush around to hunt for eggs and put them in their baskets. Once they are all found, they are given to Mom and Dad. The kids love colouring and hunting, but they don’t like to eat them.

My husband’s family had a tradition where they would pop the wide end of the egg on their unsuspecting sibling’s forehead. You had to be quick to do it and, when they were teenagers, it was a lot of fun for our daughters to see if they could catch their dad. I often think that traditions are like cement in that they help hold families together.

As the years go by, the children will remember sitting around the kitchen table decorating eggs with their parents and grandparents. Hopefully, they will draw on the love that was felt. Maybe when they become parents themselves, this tradition will continue to the fourth generation.

Next, read up on 10 fascinating Easter traditions from around the world.

Originally Published in Our Canada