Today on Easter Thursday I started my day with a walk in the garden looking for wild flowers and tiny leaves. Easter has come, as every year, in spring time and all the customs related to this celebration, religious and secular, symbolize rebirth of every form. One of such traditions is egg decorating. Eggs have been the ultimate symbol of new life and rebirth for thousands of years. One can say that weather you find yourself in Ancient Mesopotamia, in Middle Ages in Central Europe or in Greece of today the symbolic meaning of egg stays obvious and almost this same everywhere. Decorating of the eggshell is a shared tradition. In Greece eggs are dyed red during the Holy Thursday symbolizing the blood of Christ.Throughout the years my favorite way to decorate the eggs is with tinting them red with natural dyes such as seaweeds or onion skins and imprinting on them shapes of those apparently insignificant wild and tiny leaves and flowers which I gathered this morning in my garden. I love the fact that the humble plants, scarcely noticed, today will be the ones to adorn the centerpiece of the festive Easter tablescape.Greek way to dye Easter eggs: chose eggs which are a week old and boil them for about 20 minutes in water and some vinegar, placing them with one layer only on the bottom of a wide pot. Eggshells get harder thanks to vinegar. Then add your dye, in my case it was seaweeds, and continue boiling the eggs for 25 more minutes or long enough till your dye works. If you want to make botanical imprints cool the eggs after their first boiling, place your botanical finds on their surface and wrap them with a stretchy and penetrable fabric such as nylon stockings. After the eggs have been dyed, cool them off and shine them with olive oil.
Now the tinted eggs are ready for Easter challenge! During Easter Sunday egg dueling takes place. Each person holds one hard-boiled egg gently but tightly in their fist, with only the tip of the egg exposed. Then the eggs’ tips are crashed one against the other. The egg that doesn’t break is the winner and can continue the egg-crashing duel with other contenders. The game is much fun and goes on for days after Easter till all the red eggs are crushed and eaten.