Rural Roots 11: “Cracking eggs on Easter”

Easter has always been a very special time for our family, woven with traditions of the holiday that are tied into the season of spring that for me bring a fresh new view of things to come. Preparing for Easter was something we did weeks in advance. It was during this time we would decorate eggs known as pysanky. Creating designs on the surface of the egg with wax and then dyeing them which then became beautiful ornate eggs to share with family and friends.

Every year on Easter morning we would attend church service where we would take our Easter baskets to be blessed by our Priest. Inside the basket was Easter bread, hard boiled eggs, ham, sausage, dairy products, salt, and horseradish. Once we had received the blessing we were able to enjoy the baskets bounty.

An additional tradition evolved as well on Easter known as the “Cracking of the Eggs.” This tradition is symbolic of resurrection and new life. Before any one could eat the game needed to be played. Each player holds a colored egg where one taps the end of their egg lightly against the end of another player’s egg. The ultimate goal is to crack the opponent’s egg, when one end is cracked, the winner than takes the same egg repeating the process with its next opponent. The player who successfully cracks the eggs of the other players is declared the winner, being blessed with good luck throughout the year. These traditions have always been very important to my parents, especially my Dad who has always enjoyed the fun that comes with the cracking of the eggs.

This tradition is still carried out and played on Easter Sunday with my own family. My grown sons look forward to taking part in the “cracking of the eggs,” every year with their Gido and Baba. Things have been known to get quite competitive over the years as my sons have gotten creative with plastic and wooden eggs to gain any edge of beating their Gido. Despite their best efforts he still seems to be the reigning Champion.