Easter Sunday is exactly seven days away. My family does not celebrate Easter but we love egg dishes any time of the year. And the egg hunt, a Western tradition that did not became popular in this country until the last two decades, is not something I grew up with. And why is the egg associated with Easter? Lots of reasons, some religious; others not. In other words, the Easter egg is both a pagan and Christian tradition.
Pagan? Oh, yes. But let’s be clear about what paganism is because I find it insane when people equate it when something evil. Paganism refers to many polytheistic religious beliefs that were prevalent before Christianity came into the picture. As they continued to exist after Christianity grew strong as a religion and Christian authorities began to brand anything un-Christian as evil, the negative connotation stuck. Today, many people think that a pagan is someone who doesn’t believe in “god” — which is true, in a way, because a pagan does not believe in the Christian god. But what is often left unsaid is that a pagan believes in some other god which is not evil at all except from the perspective of Christians who insist that anything outside the Christian doctrine is necessarily evil.
But what does that have to do with Easter? Nothing. But it has everything to do with the egg which, over time, came to be known as Easter egg. People have long celebrated the coming of spring and, before Christianity, pagan spring celebrations already included the egg — spring is a “rebirth” after the deadness of winter and the egg was the perfect symbol for new life.
In Christian belief, Easter is the day of resurrection when Jesus rose from the dead. Resurrection = rebirth. The earliest Easter eggs were dyed red to represent the blood of Christ. If you’re familiar with religious assimilation, Christians decided to adopt the pagan spring egg tradition in the context of Christian beliefs (they did the same with a lot of winter traditions which eventually became “Christmas” traditions). Ergo, the legend that Mary Magdalene went to the Emperor of Rome, greeted him with “Christ has risen”, the Emperor pointed to an egg on his table and said, “Christ has no more risen than that egg is red.” And the egg miraculously turned blood red. Traditions evolved and, over time, that red egg became hard-boiled eggs with painted shells and, much later, plastic eggs filled with chocolate and candies.
Now that we’ve established the connection between Easter and the egg, let’s move on to deviled eggs. Why would anything named after the devil be fit to be served on Easter Sunday? Well, there’s nothing evil about deviled eggs. It’s a cultural association thing — hell, where the devil purportedly reigns, is said to be very hot so the term “deviled” is meant to describe the spiciness of the filling.
Deviled eggs are devilishly and wickedly delicious, and very easy to make. Apart from boiling, there is no other cooking step involved.
Recipe: Deviled eggs
- 3 eggs
- 2 to 3 tbsps. of mayonnaise (depending on how large the egg yolks are)
- 1 tbsp. of roasted onion bits (available in the spice section of supermarkets)
- 1 tsp. of parsley (dried or fresh; use twice as much if using fresh)
- 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. of chili flakes (depending on how spicy you like your deviled eggs)
- salt, to taste
- pepper, to taste
- Boil the eggs, cool and shell. See how to boil eggs (and about hard-to-peel boiled eggs).
- Cut the eggs vertically into halves.
- Scoop out the yolks into a bowl.
- Add the rest of the ingredients. Mix well to make a creamy and smooth, but still firm, filling.
- Spoon or pipe into the hollows of the egg white where the yolks used to be. Place in a tray, cover with cling film and chill in the fridge for an hour or two. Serve chilled.
Preparation time: 10 minute(s)
Cooking time: 7 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 2 to 3