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The Magic of Easter

The traditional red, hard-boiled egg is the most prominent symbol of Orthodox Easter. Orthodox Christians will spend Thursday (Veliki Cetvrtok) dying dozens of eggs and decorating them with different colours and designs. However, it must be noted that the first three eggs should be dyed before dawn on Thursday, before Good Friday. It is said that these three eggs will not go rotten for years to come if they are dyed before the sun rises.

The first egg is dedicated to God; the second egg is dedicated to the head of the house or the 'Domakin'; and the third egg is for good luck. The first egg is said to be magical, and is therefore placed next to a religious icon in the house. It is even believed that this egg can cure illnesses. It is for this reason that the housewife or the 'Domakinka' should not attempt to dye these three eggs on an empty stomach. She must eat at least a mouthful of bread, as any eggs dyed on an empty stomach do not bring any luck. It is even believed that they can bring bad luck and illness. The egg placed on the icon last year should be buried in the ground before placing the new egg on the icon. However, some people from particular regions of Macedonia keep last year's egg until Gjurgjovden and then bury it on this day. 

With the first rays of sunlight, the housewife or the 'Domakinka' will wake each member of the household by rubbing the first boiled egg on each of their faces saying "Crveno, belo, debelo," or "Red, white, plump!"

This beautiful tradition of egg dying represents life and birth; and the red dye symbolises the blood of Christ. The tradition stems from the story of Marija Magdalena who travelled to Rome to inform King Tiberij of the miracle of the resurrection of Christ. She offered a dyed red egg to the King and said "Hristos Voskrese!" or "Christ has risen!" From then on, Orthodox Christians have been dying red eggs to symbolise the resurrection of Christ.





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