Growing up in a Greek family during the Easter holidays everyone awaits the excitement of “cracking” of the red eggs with friends and family on Easter Sunday. Traditionally, the Greek Red Easter Eggs are dyed on Holy Thursday, but today in modern times they are done on any day close to Easter Sunday. Red symbolizes the blood of Christ shed on the cross. Some consider the first egg dyed as the egg of the Virgin Mary and save it in their home to protect the household from the evil eye. Others save the egg from church service during the Anastisi, the midnight service on Saturday.
The eggs are cracked large end to large end or small end to small end. Once you’re egg is fully cracked on each side, it’s time to eat it! But, if you hold the egg the hasn’t been cracked, you have been given good luck for the year. While you crack you’re eggs, one person will say, “Christos Anesti”, while the other person says, ” Alithos Anesti”., symbolizing Christ’s emergence from the tomb. This is the first food eaten after fasting.
Along with the eggs, the Greek bread ” tsoureki” is made with several red eggs woven in the bread. The bread dough is made with three braids signifying the Trinity. The traditional Easter soup, mayeristsa, is also shared among the family. This delicate soup with it’s lamb parts is considered a gentle way to introduce meat back into the diet.
If you would like the recipe and more information read here.
Every dye package has it’s own directions. So, try and follow your brands cooking steps. I buy mine at the Greek stores in town. If you can’t find a local store, you can find them online. I suggest you buy more than one for the upcoming years. The following is a basic egg cooking process I have used. An alternative to using this egg dye is to use natural foods to dye your eggs.
Place room temperature eggs with cold water in a large pan. Try and have most of the eggs in a single layer. Bring to a gentle boil, and reduce to medium low and cook for 15-20 minutes. To test your egg to see if it done, spin the egg on your counter. If it spins slowly, it’s done. You may also want to remove an egg and break it open to make sure it’s hard boil.
Once the eggs are boiled, dissolve the dry red dye in a glass of water and pour in your pan. Stir in one cup of vinegar and stir gently. Cover and let it sit until it gets to the shade you would like.
With a spoon slowly lift your egg out of the pan to see the color. Place it back gently if it needs more time.
With a slotted spoon slowly lift each egg out and place back in the original egg carton. This is a great container for drying, as well as for storing your finished eggs.
Allow the eggs to cool. To shine your eggs, use a paper towel and oil and rub each egg gently to cover the egg. Place back in container and refrigerate.
Information from: The Greek Traditions and Customs in America by Marilyn Rouvelas
© 2012 – 2013, California Greek Girl. All rights reserved.