By Sharon Hudgins
Easter is one of my favorite times of the year in Germany, second only to the Christmas-New Year season. I love winter with its short, snowy days and cozy gatherings in front of a blazing fireplace, but springtime brings the joys of early blooming crocuses and daffodils, and the profusion of pink, purple, and white blossoms on the fruit trees, like an Impressionist painting of the local landscape.
In Europe, Easter markets are also a feature of this season. It’s traditional at this time of year for people to decorate eggs, those ancient symbols of rebirth and the regeneration of life—and, for Christians, the resurrection of Christ. In Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and many other parts of Europe, thousands of hand-decorated eggs are sold at the Easter markets, along with budding pussy willow and yellow forsythia branches, bouquets of fresh flowers, and tempting treats from cookies and candies to sausages and hams. Special Easter egg exhibitions are also held in some cities, showcasing the works of artists from all over the world, who have painted, dyed, and etched a variety of eggs, from tiny pigeon spheres to huge ostrich orbs.
I can never resist buying a pretty egg or two every time I go to those Easter markets. But I also like to dye my own eggs at home. Although you can buy commercial dyes for coloring eggs, I think it’s more fun—and prettier, too—to dye eggs with natural ingredients already available in your own kitchen. The colors are more subtle, and you have the additional satisfaction of using organic, sustainable materials that don’t harm the environment like some commercial chemicals can.
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