Fr. Matthew O'Toole posted on April 04, 2013 09:15
For several millennia the egg has been used in various religious traditions to symbolize life. For Christianity the image of life breaking out from the shell of the egg reminds us of Christ bursting forth from the confines of the tomb.
Mary Magdalene had been a woman of wealth and social status. As the story goes, after the death and resurrection of Christ, she gained an audience with the Roman Emperor Tiberius Caesar where she denounced Pontius Pilate’s handling of Jesus’ trial. Mary picked up an egg from the banquet table to make her point about the resurrection and exclaimed, “Christ has risen from the tomb!” Scoffing at her claim, Caesar replied that there was as much chance of a person coming back to life after death as there was for an egg turning red. Sure enough, the egg in Mary’s hand miraculously turned crimson. Thus, the first colored Easter egg!
These days we typically see Easter eggs in a variety of colors. The custom of embellishing the original red egg with more elaborate designs is an outgrowth of artistic expression and the commercialization of decorated eggs by the Faberge Company during imperial Russia helped too. Still, they remain a beautiful expression of the mystery of Easter.