Saturday, April 7, 2012

Easter Tradition!

I thought I'd share one of my favorite Easter traditions!

Looking at me, you probably wouldn't guess that I'm part Greek.  My great-grandparents came to America, arriving through Ellis Island, from Greece. Growing up, one of my fondest memories of Easter was the egg-cracking game.  As an adult, I've learned more about the symbolism of this tradition and have enjoyed continuing the tradition with my children. The fact that this tradition wouldn't be possible without the incredible, edible egg, makes it even better! 

In the Greek Orthodox Church, Easter eggs are dyed red to represent the blood of Christ, shed on the Cross, and the hard shell of the egg symbolizes the sealed Tomb of Christ— the cracking of the eggs symbolizes His resurrection from the dead.The egg is seen by followers of Christianity as a symbol of resurrection; while being dormant it contains a new life sealed within it.

The Rules:
The game is called tsougrisma (prounounced TSOO-grees-mah & means clinking together or clashing) (τσουγκρισμα in Greek) and it involves two players and red eggs.  Each player holds a red egg, and one taps the end of her/his egg lightly against the end of the other player’s egg. The goal is to crack the opponent’s egg. When one end is cracked, the winner uses the same end of her/his egg to try to crack the other end of the opponent’s egg.  The player who successfully cracks the eggs of the other players is declared the winner and, it is said, will have good luck during the year.  You just keep going until there's one person standing with at least one end of his/her egg still intact! 

In our family, the first person would say, Christos Anesti "Χριστός ἀνέστη!" - "Christ is Risen!" before clinking eggs with his/her opponent and the opponent would respond, Alithos Anesti "Ἀληθῶς ἀνέστη!" - "Truly He is Risen!" or "He Has Risen Indeed!

It's a fun way to remember why we celebrate Easter and a great learning game for children.  Give it a try and let me know what you think!

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