I went to my grandfather’s house for an Easter celebration this year, and my cousin brought his girlfriend, whose parents are from Russia, to meet the family. She brought a desert bread loaf, topped with a drizzle of frosting and powdered sugar and garnished with two hard-boiled (non-colored) eggs, to give to my grandparents. I asked her more about the gift, and the following is her response: Its a Russian tradition to bake lots of kulich and on Easter, go and give them away to neighbors, friends, relatives, or exchange for theirs. My mom knows how to make it – I don’t…I don’t even know why the eggs are added to it…but yeah, she does this every year and made this one for me to bring here since I am meeting everyone…I guess it’s to make a good impression (laughs). But I guess it represents being just a good person during Easter and caring for your neighbors and friends…a way of keeping peace and good relations among the people around you.”
Her analyses of the tradition makes, and I would only expand on it to show why such a gift, presented in this way and at this time, would make people happy to receive it. Traditionally, Easter falls within the life cycle analysis of the cyclical calendar year. It is during the spring, a time of fertility and flowers blossoming. The entire season and Easter specifically symbolize reproduction and preparation for marriage and procreation. This can be seen with the fact that “Easter” is derived from “estrus,” or a female dog’s heat cycle. Moreover, “estrogen,” and the ancient Goddesses Esther and Astarte are highly connected with the underlying currents of this celebration. Thus, the kulich exchange with the all-important eggs is a symbolic way of ensuring that your friends and neighbors will be blessed with fertility and reproductive abundance. The eggs represent life, the woman’s ability to reproduce, and arguably the male’s testes (as there are two presented with the bread). In this way, one is helping and showing concern for the reproductive life of their friends, family, and neighbors.