In Aleppo, when I was growing up, we didn’t have fancy egg coloring kits. What we would use to dye our Easter eggs was skin of red onions. There weren’t a ton of colors… there was only red. There’s a reason for that. During the crucifixion of Christ, Mary had an egg in her shall. While she witnessed her son bleeding out on the cross she cried. Her tears mixed with the blood of Christ blended and colored the egg she carried. The color red represents Jesus’ blood. Also the hard shell of the egg is a sign of the tomb in which Jesus was encapsulated and as you break the egg you release Jesus from the tomb as He resurrected.
My grandmother would boil the eggs on either Good Friday or the Saturday after along with the skin of red onions. I would stand next to her and watch her peel the onions and put it in the boiling water. After the eggs were boiled they were removed and cooled and then we would put them on a platter. We put them in the living room… we didn’t have a family room… sometimes we put them on the dining room table. When guests would come, we would sit around the table and greet each other in the Easter tradition. One person would say “Krisdos haryal i merelots,” which means Christ is risen from the dead. One would reply, “Orhnyal e harutyun’ Krisdosi,” which means blessed is the resurrection of Christ.
We would leave the eggs overnight till Easter morning. I always got to be the one who carried the plate from the kitchen to the dining room table… it’s not much but it was my role. Then we would fight the eggs. My uncle would come… when he was born, Easter was very close to his birthday so they named him Harout after the Armenian word for resurrection, haroutune. In American his name is Harry. I fought the most eggs with him. I won most of the egg fights… I don’t know if they let me win or if I won off of merit but either way… I won.
I never knew there was a reason behind dying eggs. It’s interesting how now there are many different ways to dye eggs. Companies have monetized a religious tradition. I suppose that’s the case with many holidays though including Christmas, Valentines Day, and Hanukkah.