The meaning of Easter in an eggshell

SIR – The thing about Easter egg hunts (News focus, April 14) is that they are grounded in the symbolic meaning of the egg as the container of new life promised by the Resurrection. This central point has been missed by commentators: an egg hunt, without qualification, is surely the province of those in search of the layings of their free-range hens.

In Jewish culture, abstention from eggs during Passover is brought to an end with a symbolic single egg on a plate. Clearly the symbolic nature of the egg does not begin with or belong exclusively to Christianity; the nature of the symbolic is that it is open and available to interpretation.

Constantine, when converting to Christianity, did not require people to give up pagan practices, so it is likely that some were incorporated into Christian practices. The provenance of the Easter egg custom is not the concern: Easter has a cultural meaning within society that goes beyond individual faith, and a loss of awareness of the symbolic leaves the individual isolated – or communing with the “selfie” self.

Yours faithfully,

Jacqueline Castles

London W2

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