The Easter egg is a traditional object of the classic chocolate egg is recent, but the gift of real eggs, decorated with any kind of drawings or dedications, has been related to the Easter festival since the Middle Ages. The egg has had symbolic traits since ancient times.
The eggs, in fact, have often played the role of the symbol of life in themselves, but also of sacredness: according to some pagan and mythological beliefs of the past, the sky and the planet were considered two hemispheres that created a single egg, while the Ancient Egyptians considered the egg as the fulcrum of the four elements of the universe.
The tradition of the gift of eggs is already documented among the ancient Persians where the tradition of exchanging simple chicken eggs at the advent of the spring season was widespread, followed over time by other ancient peoples such as the Egyptians, who considered the change of season a kind of first of the year, the Greeks and the Chinese.
Often the eggs were rudimentary decorated by hand. The custom of exchanging decorated eggs developed in the Middle Ages as a gift to servants. In the same period the decorated egg, from a symbol of the spring rebirth of nature, became with Christianity the symbol of the rebirth of man in Christ.
The spread of the egg as an Easter gift probably arose in Germany, where the tradition of donating simple eggs on the occasion of this holiday spread.
Easter egg: from its origins to today
Originally, eggs were boiled wrapped with leaves, or together with flowers, so as to take on a golden color.
Also in the Middle Ages a new tradition took hold: the creation of artificial eggs manufactured or coated in precious materials such as silver, platinum and gold, obviously intended for aristocrats and nobles. Edward I, king of England from 1272 to 1307, commissioned the creation of about 450 gold-coated eggs to be donated for Easter.
And speaking of Easter egg, today it also takes on a different meaning: an Easter egg, in computer science is a content, usually of a facetious or bizarre and harmless nature, that the designers or developers of a product, especially software, hide in the product itself.
The expression evokes the Easter egg hunt traditionally carried out in some countries during the Easter period. A famous example is the fragments of video games that can be activated with certain key presses in many versions of Microsoft Excel or other Office products, but it is also used in other areas, indicating hidden contents inside books, films or episodes of TV series and above all video games.