The Symbolic Reason Eggs Are Dyed Red For Greek Easter

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The Greek Easter egg cracking tradition, Tsougrisma (τσούγκρισμα) aka “the clashing” (via Greek Cargo), has been around as long as anyone can remember. It comes with a particular set of instructions: first, the eggs are to be dyed blood-red (so there are no brightly colored eggs in Greek households). Greek Cargo says that the reason the eggs are red is because they are meant to represent the blood of Jesus. There is a whole lot of symbolism wrapped in such a small breakfast food: the shell of the egg represents the sealed tomb of Christ, and when the eggs are cracked together, with the intention of breaking one or the other, it represents Jesus breaking out of the tomb after his resurrection.

If you need a reminder of how to play Tsougrisma, or are trying to learn how to impress your Greek friends during the holidays, Select Bakery describes how to play. On Greek Easter Sunday, each person chooses a red egg. Look at the person sitting next to you, say “Christos Anesti” (which translates to “Christ has risen”), and the other person will respond “Alithos Anesti” (translates to “Indeed, he has risen”). You then tap the ends of your eggs together (it must be the same end), and whoever’s egg cracks loses the round. You go around the group until only one person has an unbroken egg-end and they are declared the winner, earning all the good luck for the rest of the year.

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