The origin of…Egg

“The key to everything is patience. You get the chicken by hatching the egg, not by smashing it.” Arnold H. Glasow

Post 26 Egg

In many parts of the world people have the tradition to color and decorate eggs. Adults hide the eggs for kids who then go on an Easter egg hunt. This custom of dying eggs may come from ancient times when in Egypt, Greece, Rome and Persia eggs were colored for festivals celebrating the arrival of spring. Then the early Christians stained eggs red in memory of the blood of Christ with the egg shell representing the boulder of the tomb of Jesus. Followers of Eastern Christianity believe that Mary Magdalene brought cooked eggs to share with the other women at the tomb of Jesus. Those eggs turned bright red when she saw the risen Christ.
Another tradition, the egg hunt, is also related to spring and new life, since it is believed that all life comes from an egg and eggs are considered to be the seed of life in the Christian world.
However, these days many children (and probably adults as well) don´t know the origin of Easter celebrations and some just think it is the Easter bunny´s birthday. This has encouraged The Meaningful Chocolate Company, a Christian fair trade group in the UK, to start selling the Real Easter Egg: a chocolate egg that is the “UK’s first and only Fairtrade charity egg to mention Jesus and the events of the Christian period of Holy Week on the box.” Part from the profit is given to the farmers to invest in their community.

But not only in Christian tradition is the egg the beginning of life. In creation myths around the world the egg (world egg, cosmic egg or mundane egg) is the beginning of some sort.
In Ancient Greek mythology, the Orphic Egg is the egg from which the primordial hermaphroditic deity Phanes/Protogonus hatched, who in turn created the god. Often a serpent wound around the egg is portrayed.
In China, in the myth of Pangu developed by Taoist monks, the universe began as an egg. The god Pangu was born inside the egg. He broke it in two halves of which the upper half became the sky and the lower half became the earth. Pangu grew taller and the sky and earth were separated further.
In West Africa the myth of Amma, the supreme god, tells how he created a cosmic egg. The egg vibrated and opened and the creator spirit was revealed and fell to earth. A female twin and four more pairs of creator spirits followed. Then the sky and the earth, day and night and the seasons were made by these spirits.

1. a hard-shelled oval thing from which a young bird is born; also : an oval or round thing from which a snake, frog, insect, etc., is born
2. the egg of a bird (especially a chicken) eaten as food (source: Merriam Webster).

The English egg comes from Middle English eye, from Old English æg, from Proto-Germanic *ajja, from Proto-Indo-European *owyo-/*oyyo-, all meaning egg and possibly derived from the root *awi-, bird.
Dutch ei, has the same origin.
Spanish huevo and Italian uovo derive from Latin ovum, meaning egg, and related to avis, bird.

Egg in other languages:
Dutch: ei (pl: eieren)
Spanish: el huevo
Italian: l´uovo (pl: le uova)


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