DIY workshop: the red egg tradition of Orthodox Easter

paques orthodoxes oeufs teints en rouge à l'oignon

In Christian countries, Easter is traditionally marked by the giving of eggs. Among the Orthodox, eggs are hand-painted, usually in red (to recall the color of Christ’s blood). From 1885 onwards, the Russian Tsar Alexander III, then his successor Nicholas II, commissioned the Fabergé jeweller to make an egg in metal and precious stones every year for fifty-four years, as a gift for his wife.

Our intern Marta, a Ukrainian-born student at the Arts Décoratifs in Paris, offers a DIY workshop for the whole family. She explains how to make red-dyed eggs, an annual tradition her family follows.

Teinture naturelle et végétale avec peaux d'oignon

Step 1: Remove the skin from ten onions (only the first two layers, the dry ones).

oeufs peints pâques orthodoxe

Step 2: Boil the peelings in water for ten minutes, until they turn red.

Step 3: Meanwhile, take some fresh whole eggs. Decorate the surface of the shells with flowers and leaves. You can add a drop of water to help them stick.

Step 4: Wrap your arrangements in old nylon tights (or gauze) to keep the plants firmly stuck to the eggs. Tie tight knots.

teinture oignon sans colorant chimique ni fixatif

Step 5: Boil for 9 minutes in the tincture (with the peelings) to cook the eggs. Then leave the eggs swaddled in the mixture to cool.

oeufs rouges tradition orthodoxe

Step 6: Unwrap the eggs. Do not rinse under water! The eggs are colored red and decorated. The plants have left their imprint on the shell.

These hard-boiled eggs are served at the table during Easter Sunday breakfast, to break the Lenten fast, after being blessed by the Pope during Easter mass.

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