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egg Red eggs for Greek Orthodox Easter

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egg Red eggs for Greek Orthodox Easter
18 April, 2014 14:31

Red eggs for Greek Orthodox Easter - 18 April, 2014

One of the most symbolic foods to be prepared for the Greek Orthodox Easter, red eggs are traditionally dyed on Holy Thursday, or ‘Kokkinopempti’ (Red Thursday), although eggs may also be dyed on Holy Saturday or any other day of Lent, with the exception of Good Friday. The eggs are coloured red to symbolise the blood that Christ shed on the cross at the crucifixion.

The red dyed egg represents the blood of Christ and the rebirth of Christ and the egg itself represents the Virgin Mary, her fertility and life. From ancient times, the egg has been a symbol of the renewal of life, and the message of the red eggs is victory over death. Some superstitions have grown out of Greek traditions and customs, one of which relates to the dyed red egg. In order to ward off evil, a household should place their first-dyed red egg where the home has their icons displayed.

Traditionally, the eggs are taken to church and after midnight mass, on the start of Easter Sunday, when Christ has risen, the faithful will take their eggs and crack them with each other. The tradition states you crack the nose of the egg against the bottom of the other egg. The person who has the last unbroken egg remaining receives the good luck. Also, red eggs are cracked during the Easter Sunday lunch feast and are cracked around the table by family members and friends prior to lunch being served. The cracking of the egg symbolises the opening of the Tomb and the resurrection of Christ.

In some parts of Greece, on the Sunday before Clean Monday (Kathara Deftera) there is a custom to eat an egg at the end of the meal, following which the accompanying phrase is said: “With an egg I close my mouth and with an egg I shall open my mouth once again.” The closure of one’s mouth represents the six week period of Great Lent and the egg which breaks the fast is the dyed red egg which is broken to celebrate Christ’s resurrection following Anastasi. One of the many things that help to make Easter special is the tradition of breaking the Red Egg. In most Greek households, baskets are filled with dyed red eggs which are offered to newly arrived guests to select and partake in the egg cracking ritual with their hosts.

Red eggs are also used to decorate Easter Tsoureki and ‘avgoules’ or large koulourakia [cookies]. [...]

From: [neoskosmos.com]

Commercial dyes are available, but this old-fashioned natural method creates red eggs with a deep rich color.

How to dye red eggs for Greek Orthodox Easter in the traditional way:

Time Required: 50 minutes + 2 hours cooling

Here's How:

* Start with 12 medium-to-small eggs.
* Carefully remove any material clinging to the surface of the eggs.
* Make the dye with the onion skins: In a stainless saucepan, place skins of 15 yellow (Greek, or if you cannot find, Spanish) onions and 2 tablespoons of white vinegar in 4 1/2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes.
* Strain dye into a glass bowl, and let cool to room temperature. (Don't be fooled by the orange color.)
* In a stainless saucepan (around 8 1/4 inches in diameter), add the cooled strained dye and eggs at room temperature (up to 1 dozen). The eggs should be in one layer and covered by the dye.
* Bring to a boil over medium heat. When boiling, reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer.
* Dyeing time will be affected by the color of the eggs. Start checking for color at 12-15 minutes. Do not simmer longer than 20 minutes.
* If eggs are not coloured red enough after 20 minutes, leave in the pot and remove from heat. When the pot has cooled enough, place in refrigerator and let sit until desired color is reached.
* When eggs are red enough, remove eggs with a slotted spoon and cool on racks.
* When they can be handled, coat lightly with olive (or other edible) oil and polish with paper toweling.
* Refrigerate until time to use.

From: [greekfood.about.com]

All the best,

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