Friday, April 06, 2007

Easter egg fights 

A tradition in Armenian households is the dying of eggs for Easter, traditionally using purple onions to get a dark red hue. That's not unusual, most families here in the States dye their eggs. But the difference between cultures comes when I explain Easter egg fights.

Saint Grigor of Tatev wrote in 14 th century about dying eggs red: "We dye eggs red on Easter and its symbolism is that the egg is a model of the world and as wise men say, the egg shell is the earth, the membrane is air, the egg white is water, the yolk is fire. And the red dye symbolizes that the entire world was bought at the price of Christ's blood. And we, when taking the red egg into our hands, proclaim our salvation. That is why we first eat the red egg and then the other dishes."

Almost everyone has egg fights on Easter, but children love this tradition most of all. Before a fight they test the egg's hardness by gently cracking it against their teeth. They find different tricks to win the fights. To fight, they crack the eggs against each other with either end, and the winner is the one whose egg cracks the opponent's egg.

I've heard stories of kids using a small pin to extract the yolk and egg white from their garmeer havgeet then injecting the shell with epoxy to make an impregnable weapon. My father used the more common trick of exposing as little of his egg as possible when you were to strike his egg. (He won a disproportionate number of Easters.)

I wish all readers a happy Easter. I'm off to make choereg, if Mrs. S will let me in the kitchen. NARN is on its "best of" behavior. See you Monday. Krisdos haryatz ee merelotz!