Why do some Orthodox Christians dye their eggs red?

The whole world maybe in quarantine at Easter 2020,  but that doesn’t mean we have to neglect our Easter Traditions. Today (April 16, 2020) is Holy Thursday for Orthodox Christians and by tradition people of Greek, Albanian, Antiochian and Romanian extraction dye their eggs red on Holy Thursday morning. Why?

Some Orthodox have a tradition that says that after Jesus’ Resurrection, Mary Magdalene went to Emperor Tiberius Caesar in Rome and she took with her a symbol that the pagan Emperor would understand as a symbol representing new life…. an egg.

She told the emperor of the Resurrection of Christ and when he questioned her about it, she held up the plain egg, said “Christ is Risen”, and the egg turned red in her hand!  The egg shell not only represented new life, but also the tomb of Jesus Christ and the red color the blood He shed for mankind’s salvation.

In modern times, on Easter Sunday, the family gathers and crack eggs to represent Jesus’ rising from the Tomb and the raising up of all mankind – Scripture says, “and coming out of the tombs after His resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many.” (Matthew 27:53).

Each person holds an egg, one person strikes the egg of the other person matching up the ends of the eggs. bottom of the egg strikes the bottom of the other egg…top strikes top:

  1. The one who strikes says “Christ is Risen”.  In Greek that is: Christos Anesti (Χριστός Ανέστη).  In Albanian that is: Krishti U Ngjall!
  2. The one receiving the strike says, “Truly He is Risen”.  In Greek: Alithos Anesti (Aληθώς ανέστη!).  In Albanian: Vertet U Ngjall!

Our iconographers write an icon of Mary Magdeline holding a red egg. 😃. Here is an image of the icon I have of her which I bought many many years ago from the Holy Transfiguration Monastery. Also an image of this year’s eggs that I just finished dyeing.

May all of you have a blessed and joyous Easter!

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