Our Catholic Traditions

Have you ever wondered how eggs became part of our Easter traditions? During the first millennium and the spread of Christianity, Christians fasted from meat, milk and eggs for the entirety of Lent. But giving up eggs for Lent didn’t mean that hens stopped laying them.

In the quiet of Holy Saturday, it became customary for Christians to set out on a “hunt” for eggs — a popular tradition today that originated out of the simple reality of free-range hens that laid their eggs in all sorts of different places. Eventually, the search for eggs was connected to Mary Magdalene, who went to the garden, looking for Christ. “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.”

With so many eggs left over by the time Easter arrived, people found a use for them by turning them into colored eggs. Egg-rolling is another common activity today that seems to be connected to the rolling away of the stone from the mouth of the tomb. You simply take hard-boiled, decorated eggs outside and roll them down a hill. When they hit each other or another obstacle like a rock, they crack open and can be eaten.

Kim Mandelkow, Director, Office for Worship