The egg is widely used as a symbol of new life just as a chick might hatch from the egg. The Easter egg tradition may have celebrated the end of the privations of Lent in the West, though this is speculation. Eggs were forbidden during Lent as well as other traditional fast days. Likewise, in Eastern Christianity, both meat and dairy are prohibited during the fast, and eggs are seen as "dairy" (a foodstuff that could be taken from an animal without shedding its blood). It was also traditional to use up all of the household's eggs before Lent began, which established the tradition of Pancake Day.
Another Orthodox tradition is the presenting of red colored eggs to friends while giving Easter greetings. According to a History channel documentary about Mary Magdalene and her role in Christianity, the custom derives from a supposed extra-Biblical event. After the Ascension of Christ, Mary supposedly went to the Emperor of Rome and greeted him with “Christ is risen,” whereupon he pointed to an egg on his table and stated, “Christ has not risen no more than that egg is red.” After making this statement it is said the egg immediately turned blood red. She then began preaching Christianity to him. The egg is seen as symbolic of the grave and life renewed by breaking out of it. The red supposedly symbolizes the blood of Christ redeeming the world and our regeneration through the bloodshed for us by Christ. The egg itself is a symbol of the Resurrection: while being dormant it contains a new life sealed within it.
Easter eggs are a popular symbol of new life in Ukraine, Romania and other Slavic countries. Russian masters saw a great inspiration in beautifully decorated Easter eggs. Later, in 18th century more designs appeared. The beautiful work of artists was featured eggs handcrafted of wood, porcelain, ceramics, glass, metal and papier-mache. A batik-like decorating process known as pysanka produces intricate, brilliantly-colored eggs. The celebrated Fabergé workshops created exquisite jeweled Easter eggs for the Russian Imperial Court. Carl Faberge gave to Tsarina Alexandra a very special Easter gift one year, the bejeweled metal egg that opened in the middle and revealed an unexpected surprise – a tiny figurine made of pure gold. Since then Carl Faberge had an honor to present a new egg designs to Royal Family of Russia once a year for Easter. Faberge eggs and jewelry that are made of metal, overlaid with high quality metal and decorated throughout with sparkling Swarovski crystals became very popular among Russian nobility and aristocracy of early 20th century.
Today, the admiration of Faberge artwork is most popular than ever among people throughout the world. Despite the strict atheist regime of Soviet Union, Easter remained one of a very few Religious holidays that was still celebrated among Russians. Many new techniques of Easter egg decoration was re-discovered in the last decade such as Religious icon painting on the surface of wooden and papier-mâché eggs, hand painted Ukrainian pisanka eggs and Faberge style jewelry with its world famous cobalt net design on it.
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