Sunday, March 8, 2009

"Eggs"actly what I am talking about!

Well, 10 inches of snow later which melted away with my "lost" hour of sleep, I continue with this Spring spree...obviously, after the Easter bunny, the next well-known symbol is the egg...the incredible edible egg unless it is Victorian milk glass!
But the egg is not new to spring or Easter rituals. From the Romans and Gauls to Egyptians and Persians and even the Chinese, they all saw the egg as a symbol of the universe. Eggs were dyed and exchanged as well as revered.

It was buried under the foundations of buildings to ward off evil...think this might be something for the current real estate crisis? Pregnant young Roman women carried an egg to foretell the sex of their unborn children...not sure how that worked...hard boiled? Male? soft boiled? Female? Yes, sexism is alive and well. French brides stepped upon an egg before crossing the threshold of their new homes.

Coloring eggs is related to Christianity. Mary brought eggs to the soldiers at the cross hoping they would be less brutal to Jesus, and her tears caused dots of color on them, and Mary Magdalen brought eggs to eat when she came to anoint the body of Jesus. When she uncovered the basket, they were rainbow colored.

Now the most famous of the decorated eggs are those made by the well-known goldsmith, Peter Carl Faberge. In 1883 the Russian Czar, Alexander, commissioned Faberge to make a special Easter gift for his wife, the Empress Marie.
The first Faberge egg was an egg within an egg. It had an outside shell of platinum and enameled white which opened to reveal a smaller gold egg. The smaller egg, in turn, opened to display a golden chicken and a jeweled replica of the Imperial crown.

This special Faberge egg so delighted the Czarina that the Czar promptly ordered the Faberge firm to design further eggs to be delivered every Easter. In later years Nicholas II, Alexander's son, continued the custom. Fifty-seven eggs were made in all.

Needless to say, my antique shop will never see the likes of a Faberge egg, but the eggs I am featuring today are the blown milk glass eggs. During the Victorian era, Easter and Christmas cards accompanied by a keepsake came into style. This practice evidently caught on because glass companies, through the end of the 19th century, made a large variety of Easter novelties, especially in milk glass with many of the pieces being the hollow blown glass egg.

This egg was decorated with cut-outs...the modern scrapbooking craze is pure Victorian! On some of the eggs the paint has faded over the years, but they are still appealing in their simplicity. I have had eggs where the previous owners dated them, but I have none in the shop at the moment.

The significance of `rolling' eggs on Easter Sunday remains the same everywhere. It perhaps recalls the descent of the "Angel of the Lord' from heaven who rolled back the stone from the door of the tomb of Christ. The Romans celebrated the Easter season by running races on an oval track and the prize - eggs.

The first egg rolls, largely family affairs, seem to have been held during the administration of President Andrew Johnson. Youngsters of the President's family dyed eggs on Sunday for the Monday rolling, which the First Lady would watch from the South Portico. The tradition carries on until this day despite early attempts by Congress in the 1800s to keep the White House lawn from being turned into a playground because of budget restraints on replacing the lawn! Things just never seem to change, do they...but, all in all, I dub thee all good eggs for reading my latest lesson!


Mountain Home Store Vintage said...


Love the glass eggs. I have never seen any of them.

Anonymous said...

Lots of great information on eggs. Especially liked the tales of the colored eggs in Jesus tomb!
The blog is great. Always something to learn.

New Liberty said...

I love your article and great information too about eggs! I also love eggs and eat several a day. They are actually very good for us and do not increase colesterol. Great source of non-flesh protien. Here's another tidbit to add to your eggcellent egg repotoir (sp).

Eggs are great for chelating mercury out of the system.So is natural butter. If you have ever had a silver colored filling or a vaccine then you have mercury, the most toxic substance on the earth, in your tissues. Eat a couple hard boiled eggs slathered with butter and salt and pepper every day and it will take time but it will help you to remove that mercury over time.

gail said...

Hi Susan,,, I always look forward to our weekly history lesson. I love the photo of your shop. Its just adorable! Have a wonderful week. (())gail

Patricia said...

Love the lesson on eggs! Egg-strordinary! I had never read the legends of the colored eggs in the tomb or of Mary's tears coloring the eggs. Always, always learn something here, thanks.
Patricia Rose-A Potpourri of Fabric Fragance and Findings

Carolee Crafts said...

Love the eggy information and that snow, thank you for sharing

Meadow Street said...

Brovo Susan!! Another great post! Very informative and beautiful!

Susan - InHerOwnWords said...

Wow quite a history lesson on eggs. Who knew?! *smiles* Fun information!
Thanks for sharing and thanks for stopping by my blog.


Just a bed of roses said...

Your such a good egg too...thanks for the history on the egg...had no idea. Always love what you discover for us. Love to learn about old things.

Patricia said...

Please stop by my blog, there's a surprise waiting for you there.
Patricia Rose-A Potpourri of Fabric, Fragrance and Findings

ann at greenoak said...

its so nice knowing a professor with a camera...thanks for another fun post..

Petit Coterie said...

Such great information, thanks for sharing. I just popped over to your blog from my dear friend Ann (Green Oaks)blog. I will bookmark it and come back for more great info and photos.

Unknown said...

Hi Susan!

Love those eggs! You have such wonderful informations to share with us. Love visiting you.
Have a happy week!
Janets Creative Pillows