Greek Egg-Breaking Easter Ritual

Text: “So every Easter, the day before we will dye hard boil eggs and everyone will have an egg and on Easter we will go around and one person will try to crack a side of your egg. and you’ve got two chances So you go in a circle until everyone has broken both sides and one person has at least one good side left. So yeah. And then they win.”

Informant is a freshman at the University of Southern California studying Psychology, originally from Palos Verdes, CA from Greek-Jewish descent. We speak in the dining hall, and she is very excited and happy to be recounting her experiences.

“It’s epic and it’s fun and you get to do something with your dyed eggs. I don’t know, you know. It was just something my parents, I guess we were doing. We do it on both sides of the family. But I believe it’s like a Greek thing, and I have heard of at least one other person who does this. Well, I never win, so you know, like I, I enjoy it because it’s something our family does every year. It’s a way to use the eggs. You know, it’s fun to color eggs and stuff. So like then you get to actually like play a game with it.”

Analysis: This tradition is an example of a ritual performed in celebration of a holiday. The term “Easter” comes from the name of a pagan goddess and symbolizes new life and fertility. The ritual furthers this symbolism with eggs also being reminiscent of reproduction and fertility. The bright colors which they were being dyed are representative of the season of spring and the blooming of colorful nature. Although Easter is now largely recognized as a Christian holiday, rituals such as these have little relation to the biblical story of Jesus Christ. This ritual could be argued to be an example of ritual license because of how the eggs are dyed and played with which are activities usually discouraged when they relate to food items.