Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Armenian Easter Eggs: The Game

Hopefully Easter isn't too far in the past to talk about the game that all the kids look forward to, even the older kids like Marash Girl and Marash Boy.  Here are some photos of the game using Armenian Easter Eggs, steeped in an all natural onion skin dye -- see Marash Girl's post  "Start saving your onion skins" for instructions . . .  Lorig did it one step better --- she bought eggs from free range vegetarian chickens (is there such a thing as a vegetarian chicken), dyed the eggs naturally with the skins of yellow onions while hard boiling the eggs the night before, providing baskets full of Easter for her guests on Easter Sunday.
Each guest selected a sturdy-looking egg and held it carefully in their hands so that only the tops were showing (scroll down for illustration).  Then s/he chose a partner with whom to compete.  The partner had to try to crack the egg of the opponent, fat end to fat end, or pointy end to pointy end.  Before long, the room was alive with shouts of "I won this egg!", or "I've got to find a tougher egg!"
The person "wins" has an uncracked egg, and has won the most eggs -- i.e., has managed to keep the egg s/he is holding intact while the opponent's egg point cracks (and once both points are cracked the person holding the cracked egg has to give up the egg to his/her opponent).

What does all of this symbolize?  The red of the egg, the blood shed for our sins; the egg itself, the tomb; 
the cracking of the egg,  the breaking open of the tomb, the conquering of death.
Doubtful that all those happily screaming little kids and grownups think about the symbolism as they laugh and crack their way through the long awaited Easter Egg game.   Does anyone know what the game is called in Armenian?


  1. I have no idea what it's called, but I also had no idea of the symbolism. It was something we grew up doing, but it was never explained, and having done it from such a young age, I never thought to ask! [insert eye roll]

    We can't figure it out, but one of my nephews seems to win EVERY year! We joke about his using a marble egg because there's no explanation for it. I get a kick out of introducing guests to the tradition.

    We were always told the person with the last egg standing was said to have good luck for the year. :)

  2. Can anyone explain why, when you hit two eggs together, whether raw or hard-boiled, only one egg will crack?

  3. I brought a batch of the eggs to my boyfriend's family's house last year and taught them the game. This year I couldn't get my act together to prepare the eggs, and when they found out we weren't doing the game they were devastated!