Easter Eggs

ONION peel for dyeing Easter Eggs gives various colours from yellow to deep orange and reddish-brown. An 18th century source described how patterns were made by cutting the onion into shapes and sticking them to the shell with egg-white. Yugoslav Macedonians call these onion peels shuski, and use them for dyeing wool as well as for colouring eggs. The peel is soaked for several days in tepid water before the eggs are boiled in it. Afterwards whatever is left is thrown out in the garden, but never where children might walk - it would give them blisters, they say (Newall). SHALLOTS give a particularly rich, deep colour. In Estonia they used to moisten the shell first, roll it in chopped barley and tie it in a cloth before boiling with onion peel (Newall). DAFFODIL flowers have been used for the purpose (Newall), and so has BEETROOT juice, to dye the eggs purple (Newall).

In France, eggs might be painted with a DAISY (pâquerette) design, and the egg given to every child before attending Easter Mass (Newall). For the flower is the symbol of innocence, and thereby, of the newly-born, so of the infant Christ. African Americans in Louisiana boil the leaves of Locust Bean ((Catalpa bignonioides) to wrap round eggs at Easter, to colour them (Fontenot).

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