The Origin of Easter Egg Hunts

Easter eggs, a major part of the Easter holiday, symbolize and celebrate rebirth, life and springtime. For Christians, the Easter egg is a symbol of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. While Easter eggs have other meanings in other cultures, they are part of one of the most popular traditions of Easter.

The tradition of coloring eggs dates back several centuries as ancient Egyptians actually used colored eggs as a sacrificial symbol. In Europe, Easter eggs were given away as gifts to others. Many people still spend time coloring hard boiled eggs but in our modern culture many people substitute colored eggs with chocolate eggs, plastic eggs, jelly beans and other candy or novelty eggs.

Eggs of every kind are hidden by the Easter Bunny. Children rise on Easter morning to hunt for the elusive Easter eggs. Easter baskets, usually made of artificial straw, supposedly represent a birds nest although other people date the Easter basket back to the original Holy Thursday, where people would fill baskets with food and take them to church to be blessed.

  • Egg hunt – An Easter egg hunt involves searching for decorated eggs in a given area. Depending upon how the Easter egg hunt is laid out, the eggs may be filled with candy and other prizes or there may be prizes awarded to the children that acquired the most eggs.
  • Egg tapping – In England it is common to play a game with hard boiled eggs known as egg tapping. Each player receives one egg with which they’re supposed to try to hit other players’ eggs with their egg. The person that has the last remaining in tact egg is the winner. Losers have to eat their eggs. Besides England, egg tapping is played in several European countries and some American states like Louisiana.
  • Egg rolling – After hunting for Easter eggs children sometimes play a game known as egg rolling where one rolls eggs down a hillside. The 1st person to have their egg roll down the hill is the winner. Egg rolling symbolizes the rock being rolled away from the tomb when Jesus Christ was resurrected.
  • Egg dance – In Germany and the UK it is common to play the egg dance game. Easter eggs are laid on the floor and then people dance without stepping on any of the eggs.

    Easter egg hunts are usually held on Easter Sunday or the day before. Children all over the world are greeted on Easter Sunday by the candies and eggs that have been left for them by the Easter bunny. Usually children decorate eggs earlier in the week, depending upon a family’s traditions. The eggs can be hidden around the home, outdoors for an Easter egg hunt in the yard or with the neighborhood at a local park.

    While there is no clear reason why the Easter egg hunt became a part of the Easter celebration, President Hayes held the first Easter celebration at the Capitol Building where children of the time actually played the egg rolling game. Now the Easter celebration is held at the White House and children are invited to attend a large Easter egg hunt and play other games like Egg rolling.