Red Egg Game

Text: Okay so growing up like we would celebrate Greek Easter, some people also call it Orthodox Easter, and it’s on a different calendar than regular Easter. American Easter? Christian Easter? I mean Greek Orthodox is still Christian, but you know what I mean. Sometimes it’s the same day, but usually it’s different. Anyways, on Greek Easter we do this thing where we dye eggs red, hard boiled eggs. And then we play a game with them. Everyone gets a red egg, and basically you take the ends of the egg, like the long ends, the pointy ones and you crack yours against someone else’s. Whoevers egg doesn’t crack keeps going and cracks their egg against more people’s. Sometimes for little kids they let them do both ends of the egg because they get sad when there’s breaks early. Whoever has the last egg that’s not broken at the end of the game gets good luck for the year. Sometimes my cousins would cheat though, they would break the end off of a fork or get like a toothpick and hide it under their hand where they grabbed the egg. Then they would poke the other person’s egg with it to crack it, but not hit theirs on it. The adults used to say that you don’t get good luck if you win by cheating though. It ruins the game. 

Context: S is 18 years old and was raised in Southern California. Growing up she attended holiday services at the Greek Church in Long Beach, California. Her father is of Greek descent, but her mother is not. 

Analysis: The alternate calendar S discusses in the beginning is the Julian calendar which the Orthodox church uses as opposed to the Gregorian calendar to determine Easter each year. The game typically takes place on Easter Sunday, at the celebrations after the Sunday service has concluded. Bringing the red eggs is usually someone’s contribution to the celebration as opposed to bringing a dish of food or bottle of wine. S also mentioned that often children assist their families in dyeing them. While red has different meanings in different cultures, in the case of the dyed Easter eggs they are meant to represent the blood of Christ and his resurrection. It’s interesting to note that there are also several Catholic sources online that state that Mary Magdalene, one of Christ’s followers, went to the Emperor to beg him to open Christ’s tomb, and that he declared it was as likely Jesus had risen as the egg in her hand was to turn red. However, all of these sources fail to cite a Bible verse. Perhaps, this is a folk story or belief that has been passed down. It is also interesting that S describes some of her cousins cheating to win the game, as in Van Genup’s Rites of Passage he specifies how rituals can fail and must be done correctly. Thus, when the cousins fail to perform the ritual game under the correct rules, they fail to earn good luck for the year.