Before each Ostara, or Easter, I go through net searching for interesting ideas for decorating eggs. I have several books on my shelf explaining how to paint colorful eggs with different natural ways. Around here we still dye the eggs ourselves rather than buying chocolate eggs from shops. Chocolate is nice, but I don’t think it goes together with Ostara at all, but well, that’s how we’ve brought up.
With all the good information around, there is still one method that we love around here, but that is more local. Yet I think it is a wonderful way to celebrate Ostara and thus we make them every year for ourselves and for giving away.
Every nature witch knows that you can paint Easter eggs yellow by using onion peels. Well, how about going a step further?
For this method you need to begin earlier by collecting the outer dried out peels of onions. We usually begin after Three Kings Day (I know that’s Christian, but it’s traditional end here for Yule festivities), because we’re not that big onion eaters to gulp down enough a month earlier. The best painters are the ones with darkest golden glow. You can also collect herbs that dye different colors, but like with every holiday you need to think ahead and thus collect them ahead too. Also, you need clean stockings that don’t need to be new, but MUST be clean. You cut them about hand size pieces. Raw white eggs are also must have. Around here the hunt for them begins about two weeks before, even in modern times with good shops. Browns will be rather plain-looking.
The process is quite simple and can be seen on the images below. You first place on your hand piece of stocking (it can be cheese cloth, important is that it lets lots of water through). Then you take few peels of onion peels and put them on it, followed by egg. Then you do your best to cover the egg with peels and other herbs before pulling the stocking tightly together and rolling strong thread around it all.
The idea is that you don’t see any white spots when you close the “pocket” and you need enough thread that it doesn’t run open easily. CAREFUL! You are dealing with raw eggs! Too much pressure and you crack it and then there’s no fun left in the game.
After all the eggs are wrapped, you put them in a pot, add water so all of them are covered, add a soup spoonful of salt and large drop of vinegar. Yes it stinks, but it won’t stick to the eggs, I promise. Salt helps to keep the eggs intact and vinegar is natural way to fix the dye on the eggs. You let it all to come for a boil and then boil them for 10 minutes. Sometimes happens that they boil 15 or even 20 minutes. Don’t worry. They will get slightly blue around yolk, but that’s about it.
After erupt cooling (cool enough to handle), like you always do with eggs, you need to cut them up again and wash. We use very sharp small scissors for this. Again, CAUTION! It is very easy to crack the eggs.
After all this you dry them and that’s pretty much it! To make them shiny we usually put small drop of oil on our hands, blend it in our palms a pit and then brush over all the eggs. If they are still a bit warm, it will dry enough that it doesn’t make them slippery or stain your fingers later on.
Sounds complicated? Perhaps on the first year. It takes few tries to get the stockings stay around the egg. But after the first, on the next year you already know how to do it and really fun thing to do with children from 7 and up.
I can tell you, they are worth the effort. Better than kinder surprise eggs, because each egg you get is unique and they look lovely.
Oh! The game! We have the tradition that on Easter morning, everyone take one egg. Then they knock them together large end with large and narrow tip with narrow one. Wins, who has both ends still intact when knocking ends or at least one end intact.
For another game we build a hill with runway. Everyone have their own eggs. The rules are pretty much same with marble games – who touches the other’s egg will get the egg. Wins, who has the most eggs.
The egg that survives the last we usually keep over the year until next year. I don’t even know the reason, but it’s just something my great grandmother did, then grandma, then mom and now us. I guess it is related with fertility, but even if its not, it’s tradition and I see to it that it is continued. Nothing happens to that egg if you keep it in cool place and it is totally intact.
And now, if this talk is hard to remember – here are the pictures of our Ostara eggs. Happy Easter, everyone!