10 Beautiful Easter Eggs From Around the World
Published 31 May 2017
It seems like only yesterday it was Christmas, but here we are, Pancake Day and Valentine’s Day have been and gone, the supermarket shelves are stacked with chocolate eggs, and it’s Easter already.
And while here in the UK the Easter Bunny hides baskets of Mini Eggs in gardens across the country and we all devour our own body weights in Cadbury Crème Eggs, around the world, Easter eggs take on a different form, many of them far too beautiful to eat. Here are some of the most egg-ceptional (sorry):
Decoupage Easter egg, USA
For those not au fait with all things craft, decoupage is a decorative art form whereby coloured paper is cut into shapes then glued and varnished onto an object, often a box, a wooden chair or, in this case, an egg. While decoupage is practised all over the globe, this method of Easter egg decoration is particularly popular Stateside as it’s an easy do-it-yourself way to brighten up your home at Eastertime.
Ostrich Easter egg, South Africa
It was the San tribe who first engraved ostrich eggs, using the surprisingly sturdy vessels as water carriers. Decorated eggs thought to be over 60,000 years old have been found in South Africa’s Richtersveld region, and while they haven’t got anything to do with Easter, they’ve inspired countless artists to create their own versions for the spring festival. Ostrich eggs have thick shells, making carving an easier option than with plain old chicken eggs; sometimes holes are drilled into the shell and lights put inside to make an attractive lampshade.
Washi Easter eggs, Japan
Originating in Japan, washi paper, made from natural fibres such as bamboo or tree bark, was traditionally used for origami, painting and woodblock printing. These days, since the invention of washi tape –which is similar to masking tape but comes in a wide variety of colours and pretty designs – washi is a popular crafting tool not just in Japan, but all over the world. Simply stick the tape to the egg in the desired pattern and enjoy.
Pysanka (plural: pysanky) Easter eggs are a Ukrainian tradition thought to be over 2,000 years old. In a process similar to batik, brightly coloured designs are drawn on using beeswax. The egg is then dyed, but the paint doesn’t stick to the wax so, when the wax is removed, a lighter shape remains underneath. At Easter, Ukrainians play a game called egg tapping, whereby they tap each other’s eggs together until only one person is left with a non-broken egg, and declared the winner.
Painted Easter eggs, Romania
Visit Romania at Easter and you’ll see painted eggs all over the place. While they may look pretty, painting them is a time-consuming process that requires accuracy and a steady hand, as well as a touch of creativity. The colours are significant too – red symbolises love, black represents eternity, yellow is youth and green is nature. Designs vary from region to region and all have their own meanings, which you can learn all about at the Museum of Decorated Eggs in Vama.
Flickr Robbert Michel
Carved Easter eggs, Slovakia
As Easter approaches in Slovakia, decorated eggs start to appear in shops and markets, egg exhibitions pop up, and classes are offered so that you can learn how to decorate your own. It’s not just carving that’s popular either; Slovaks also use the same batik method as Ukraine: dye their eggs with herbs or plants, paint them, or wrap them in wire, wool, leather or lace.
Confetti Easter eggs, Mexico
Otherwise known as cascarones, Mexico’s take on the Easter egg involves a hollowed out chicken egg filled with glitter, confetti or small toys. These eggs, usually decorated or at least painted on the outside, are thrown at people’s heads, showering them in confetti and supposedly bringing good luck. They aren’t just an Easter thing either, as cascarones are often seen at Halloween, Cinco de Mayo and Day of the Dead celebrations, and occasionally at weddings.
Flickr Peter Vanderheyden
Giant Easter egg, Canada
Vegreville, Alberta, is home to the Vegreville Egg, a rather impressive roadside egg sculpture built in 1974. Designed in the style of a Ukrainian pysanka, this giant art installation is nine metres long and weighs 2.5 tons, which made it the largest Easter egg in the world until it was overtaken by the one in Kolomyia, Ukraine, in 2000. It is notable for the fact that it is made up of 2D tiles, fitted onto a 3D structure, which involved some complicated mathematical equations eventually solved by geometrist Ronald Resch from the University of Utah.
Onion peel Easter eggs, Greece
While there are many methods used to dye Easter eggs, in Greece they are traditionally coloured using onions skins and vinegar, creating kokkina avga, or ceremonial eggs. Usually made on Holy Thursday, along with tsoureki, Greek Easter bread, the first finished egg is used to ward off evil, while the rest are used to play tsougrisma, an egg tapping game similar to the Ukrainian version mentioned above.
Mona de Pascua, Spain
This Easter cake is a Spanish favourite, baked to symbolise the end of lent as well as the start of spring. It’s given by godparents to their godchildren, and originally took the form of a giant doughnut topped with hard boiled eggs, with the number of eggs representing the age of the godchild. These days the eggs are mostly of the chocolate kind, with the whole cake covered in chocolate, almonds or hundreds and thousands. Sold at bakeries across the country, they’re very popular, especially in Catalonia, where around 6000,000 are sold every year on Easter Monday.