Ancient Easter Traditions: Thursday’s Children

Welcome to the Thursday’s Children Blog Hop, where writers come together to share whatever inspires them throughout their writing journey. I’d like to thank our lovely hosts, Rhiann and Kristina, for inviting me to participate. Thank you! Make sure to check out the other bloggers via this Link List: http://www.linkytools.com/wordpress_list.aspx?id=190621&type=basic. We’d love for you to join us!


I thought this post apt as Easter is this weekend, and I am ever fascinated by the celebrations and religions of other cultures. It’s funny that, while growing up, no one could explain to me the reason we dyed Easter eggs, why the Easter Bunny left us baskets of chocolate, or what in the world any of it had to do with Jesus. Only as an adult, ever curious and taking full advantage of the internet, did I discover the multiple origins, traditions, and symbolic meanings associated with this holiday.

One such origin refers to the Teutonic fertility goddess, Eostre, or Ostara. She represents the coming of spring and the renewal of life, and the hare and eggs, symbols of the fecundity of spring, are sacred to her.

The Vernal Equinox, often called Ostara in contemporary Paganism, is a time of renewed energy and new growth, and celebrates the young Sun God as he returns to power after the long winter months and joins the Maiden Goddess in sacred marriage. The Egyptian god Osiris, known as a sun god and a resurrected god, is also celebrated during this time.

My current WIP takes place in Romania, and the inspiration for a particular scene came in the form of painted eggs; folklore style. The Romanian tradition of painting eggs is truly an art, for each egg tells a story and each egg is unique. Every line, every symbol, every color, conveys a different meaning. Nothing is left to chance. It can take up to seven hours to paint a single egg. The eggs are hollowed, dipped in beeswax, and special tools are used to write the stories. Once complete, they are gifted to family members, friends, neighbors, the newly married, and those just born. Long ago the eggs were believed to hold magical powers, and today the eggs are always blessed by a priest.

There is a legend in Romania that tells of the Virgin Mary who visited her son while He hung upon the cross. She carried with her a basket of eggs and set them before her to pray. Christ’s holy blood dropped on the eggs and reddened them. I thought this story very beautiful. I also found it interesting that the color red, when used in painting eggs, symbolizes the sun.

Has Easter or any other holiday inspired your writing?

27 Responses to “Ancient Easter Traditions: Thursday’s Children

  • I love coloring eggs for the carnival!
    Making a tiny hole in it, breaking the yolk, shaking it, letting it’s content pour out, and then wash and dry. Then, fill with confetti, put a piece of tape on hole.
    And break on someone’s head!
    Great post!

    • Fun! I want to make some of those πŸ™‚ Thanks!

  • Well, you know me, all about the pagans, lol. In fact I was just teasing JL Licea about the pagan meanings behind the Mexican traditions he wrote about this week. It’s all fascinating! One of my fave children’s authors Patricia Polacco wrote a great one called Rechenka’s Eggs, her stories all have Eastern European traditions. I’ve had opportunities to do Ukrainian egg-painting but I know I don’t have NEARLY enough patience πŸ™‚

    • I saw his post! I loved it πŸ™‚ And I’ll have to pick up that book. I don’t have the patience either, so I’ll just have to buy one, haha.

  • Those Romanian painted eggs are so beautiful. Have a happy Easter! πŸ™‚

  • Hey, Kate! Beautiful eggs. They remind me of the ones I saw when I visited Russia as a kid. I tried my hand at making the hollowed-out ones once, but couldn’t figure out how the hell to get the insides out without breaking the shell!
    I must confess, holidays don’t inspire my writing much. I think I got too much of them as a kid, so now my writing tends to veer off in the opposite direction. C’est la vie. Great post!

    • Thank you! I didn’t know you went to Russia. I’m totally jealous now πŸ™‚

  • When I was a kid we blew out eggs, painted them and then hung them on a tree made out of bare branches. The eggs were kept every year so the tree slowly became more decorated. Of course some of the eggs have broken or fallen a part, but my mom still has some of them.

    I actually have a character in of my novels who’s magic centers on painted eggs much like the one in your photo.

    • That’s a beautiful tradition! I’d love to see a picture πŸ™‚

  • Beautiful eggs. I love learning about ancient cultures, or present day cultures and their traditions, very inspiring. Your story sounds very interesting. Can’t wait to hear more about it. Best of luck. may your writing time always be productive. πŸ˜€

  • So i can read your story sooner–lol. totally selfish.

  • First off, I’m a huge fan of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and The Historian, both of which feature Romania and its folklore. Very cool!

    When you mentioned red-dyed eggs, it made me think of Greek Easter, where eggs are traditionally dyed solid red, without the patterns you describe above. Maybe it’s because of the story you mentioned?

    Thanks for sharing this β€” I love historical facts like these!

    • Ooh, possibly!! I’ll have to look that up. Spring is associated with Dionysus, who is often attributed to Christ, so yes, VERY possible. Thanks!! πŸ™‚

  • Kate! I love this; my mom collects Easter eggs and has one from Romania in her collection. Your WIP sounds so unique!

    • I’m totally jealous!! I’m going to find one before next year, lol. Thank you! πŸ™‚

  • The story behind those Romanian painted eggs is very interesting, thanks for sharing! Hope you have a very happy Easter!

    • You too! Glad you had fun in Paris πŸ™‚

  • Those eggs are gorgeous, but I don’t have that kind of patience. Halloween/Samhain have figured into at least one or two stories – as has Beltane. πŸ™‚

  • I love learning new things! Great post!

  • Oh wow, I’ve always loved this Teutonic stuff. Did you ever read The Light Bearer? I guess today it would be considered YA Fantasy but it’s totally golden with the Teutons vs. the Romans and the real origin of Easter.

    • I have not. I’ll have to pick it up! Thanks πŸ™‚

  • I love when Fantasy authors reveal cultural inspirations like this. It adds so much depth to descriptions.
    Thanks for sharing!