About Celebrations – Dyeing Eggs Red for Orthodox Easter
On Good Friday, Orthodox Christians in Georgia dye hard boiled eggs a red color using the root of the Madder plant and onion peel. The eggs represent the blood of Christ and are placed on green wheat grass, which symbolizes new life, resurrection, and eternity.
The eggs are blessed in a church and on Easter Monday people take them to cemeteries and place them on the graves of their relatives. Some of the eggs are eaten and some are used in a good luck contest where opponents hit each other’s eggs to try and crack them. The person who ends up with the last unbroken egg is believed to have a year of good luck.
The dye used to color the eggs comes from the root of the Madder plant. The root has been used as a dye for over 5,000 years. Archaeologists have found traces of Madder in linen in Tutankhamen’s tomb.
To make the red dye:
Ingredients: 15 eggs, 500 grams of madder root, 1 tbs of vinegar and the skin of two onions.
Preparation: Fill a deep pot with room temperature water. Thoroughly wash and then crush or break the madder root. Remove the skin from the onions. Add the eggs, madder root, onion skins and vinegar to the pot.
Heat on a very low temperature until the liquid boils. Allow to simmer for 15 minutes and then remove from the heat. Allow to stand for 3-4 hours.
Carefully remove the dyed eggs. Dry them with a cloth and rub with a little vegetable oil to make them shiny.
Orthodox Christians congratulate each other on Easter with several dyed eggs laid on a dish of green wheat grass and with a traditional Paska cake.
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