Tradition! I had the privilege of recently attending a church series about Jewish traditions with the movie Fiddler on the Roof as its springboard. Tevya, the father and film’s beloved main character, opens the first scene as if singing directly to you regarding the importance of Jewish tradition. He explains that it is by following traditions that the Jewish people have kept their balance and that it is, in fact, tradition that helps them remember who they are and what God expects of them. “Without our traditions,” he says, “our lives would be as shaky as… as… as a fiddler on the roof!”
For our family, as I’m sure they are for yours, traditions are a wonderful part of our family tapestry. And, yes, I think Tevya is right. Some traditions can help us keep our balance, remember who we are, and even remind us of what God expects of us. Some are passed down from generation to generation. Others we adopt and make our own. This weekend I experienced the blessing of the latter.
It was Good Friday and I had a very special morning planned. I was meeting with my best, 77-year-young, Greek friend, Daisy, and equally precious daughter for breakfast. During breakfast, Daisy reminded me of their long-held Greek tradition of dying Easter eggs a brilliant, scarlet red. I’d heard her speak of these eggs before, but since it was Good Friday I paid closer attention. By the time she had finished describing the eggs she had just dyed, my interest was piqued. So, I asked if I could go back to their house to see them and they generously obliged my curiosity.
Well, let me tell you, I could never have imagined how beautiful these eggs would be! They were the most beautiful Easter eggs I had ever seen! And what made them even more beautiful was the symbolism behind them. The eggs represented new birth in Christ and the red symbolized his blood shed for us. By the time I left I had the recipe memorized and was making my way to the nearest grocery to pick up the necessary ingredients and start a brand-new, Easter tradition of my own!
Before I show you the process, however, let me tell you about one more Greek tradition Daisy shared that you too may find worth adopting. If you’ve ever watched the film, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, you may remember the scene where Toula Portokalos is teaching her non-Greek boyfriend how to say Happy Easter. She succeeds (more or less) in teaching him to say, “Christos Anesti.” It means, “Christ is risen.” Daisy explained that during Easter and for the forty days thereafter, Greeks never greet each other with just a “hello.” Instead, they greet each other with “Christos Anesti,” as a reminder that Christ died for us, was victorious over sin, has indeed risen, and reigns victoriously, forever. I just love that!
Good news! Easter is not over…tomorrow is Easter Monday and you still have forty more days, according to Greek tradition (and the rest of the year if you like!) to remind each other of what Christ did at Calvary. Have fun dying your Easter eggs a beautiful scarlet red and who knows? Maybe they’ll become one of your favorite, new family traditions, too!
1 dozen eggs (or more)
1 box Scarlet Rit Dye from the grocery store (Don’t worry; no dye will seep through the shell.)
Pyrex or a disposable plastic cup
¼ c white vinegar
Large stainless pot and lid
Slotted spoon for stirring (stainless works great)
Stainless or clear Pyrex bowl
Olive oil (vegetable oil or Crisco shortening works fine too)
Wear old clothes that you won’t mind messing up in case a little dye gets on them.
Assemble your ingredients
Carefully place eggs in a large pot. Cover eggs with cold water (about 1 inch over the eggs).
Place lid on pot and bring eggs to a full boil.
(Reserve your egg carton for later use.)
Meanwhile, pour 1/2 package of dye into a plastic or Pyrex cup.
Pour in some hot water to dissolve dye. Carefully stir with a disposable plastic spoon.
Once the water comes to a full boil,
gently stir dye mixture and 1/4 c white vinegar into the boiling water, being careful not to crack any eggs.
Place lid back on pot and lower heat to simmer for six minutes. Keep a close eye on this, so it does not boil over.
Turn off heat and leave pot on burner for another six minutes.
Carefully remove eggs to a stainless or Pyrex bowl using a slotted spoon.
Once cool enough to handle, gently place eggs back in carton to finish cooling and drying.
Once completely cool, your eggs are ready for polishing. Using a dab of oil on a paper towel, gently pat the eggs.
Using a dry paper towel, gently blot the eggs to remove any excess oil while still leaving a beautiful sheen.
When you’re done your eggs will be a shiny cherry red like these!