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Why Do People Dye Easter Eggs?

A basket holds colorful Easter eggs.
Sofiaworld/Shutterstock.com

For many families, dyeing Easter eggs each year before the holiday is a fun tradition. There are plenty of different dyeing methods, but have you ever thought about where the tradition started? Why do people actually dye Easter eggs?

You might be surprised to learn that your favorite Easter activity is actually a tradition that dates back over 2,500 years.

While modern dyes and different methods are new, the ritual of dyeing eggs dates back to the ancient Persians. Some scientists believe that they painted eggs for the Persian New Year (Nowruz). Many Persian families still practice this tradition and paint colorful eggs each year—but not for Easter.

The connection between the Christian holiday and egg-dyeing dates back to the 10th century, when Christianity spread to Ukraine and the tradition of coloring eggs with wax or dye became associated with religion. The Greeks dyed eggs red in association with Mary Magdalene’s visit to Jesus’ tomb.

It wasn’t until King Edward I ordered 450 eggs to be colored with gold leaf and given away to celebrate that “Easter eggs” started to really become popular. During the Victorian era, the art of dyeing eggs became less exclusive, and more of a family tradition. The eggs were considered “treats” for the children, and the vibrant colors were associated with spring. Eventually, dyeing eggs lead to other Easter traditions, including egg hunts.

As you can see, egg dyeing for Easter has come a long way. Share some of the history with your family this year as you dip and dye your colorful creations for the upcoming holiday.

Stacey Koziel Stacey Koziel
Stacey Koziel is a news writer at LifeSavvy. She's worked as a freelance writer for over ten years, focusing on family and lifestyle content. She also has a background in marketing and social media, and is always eager to talk (and write!) about the latest TikTok trends. Read Full Bio »
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