Friday, 27 March 2009

Easter curiosities

With many schools starting their Easter break today, I’m sure there are lots of eggs being bought and eaten. I had scrambled eggs for breakfast yesterday and one of the two eggs I cracked open had a double yoke – I’m sure this must be a lucky omen?

Did you know that the tradition of giving real, coloured and decorated eggs dates back over 2000 years? Eggs of the chocolate variety are a relatively recent phenomenon – in fact Cadburys produced their first chocolate egg less than 150 years ago in 1875.

In Ancient China, Greece and Persia, the egg was a symbol of new life and eggs were exchanged at a festival in celebration of the rites of spring. The goddess of spring, who rose from her winter sleep to fill the earth with new life was known as Eostre by the Anglo-Saxons and that’s where the word Easter originates from.

Eggs are often associated with birth – in France, brides still break an egg over the threshold of their new home to bring them good luck and healthy babies. To Christians, the egg became a symbol of Christ’s resurrection – or re-birth.

From the 14th century onwards, there are accounts of eggs being dyed and even covered with gold leaf for the royal household of Edward I. Later, eggs were handmade by specialist craftsmen using silver, gold, ivory and porcelain. Some were even encrusted with jewels – like the luxury Faberge eggs, the most opulent of which was sold in 1994 for $5.6 million. By the 18th century, papier-mache eggs were available as containers for small gifts and by the 19th century cardboard eggs became the fashion. These were covered with silk, lace, stylish velvet bows and ribbons.

If you’re curious to find some quirky and unusual gifts this Easter, ShopCurious is definitely the place to look for eggs. We’ve a seriously cute and highly individual hatching egg that’s an antique carved ivory curiosity from the Far East. Of course, you don’t have to be a Christian to celebrate the Easter holiday, or even be religious for that matter, but if you are we’ve also got a vintage ormolu-embellished mother of pearl ‘Souvenir de Lourdes’ containing a delicate mother of pearl and silver rosary.

These unique eggs are timeless in their appeal, as well as being collectable – they’d make a great investment and a much healthier option for an Easter gift than the common calorific variety. They’re certainly more original, though I don’t think Easter would be quite the same without a little bit of chocolate…

Do you?

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