Red eggs (kokkina avga, pronounced KOH-kee-nah ahv-GHAH) are a traditional part of the Greek Easter Sunday celebration. They are lovingly made from natural dyes or can be dyed using the skin from onions. The eggs can then be woven and baked to make tsoureki (three-braided Easter bread signifying the Holy Trinity), often as a decorative feature for tables, and can be enjoyed as part of a fun game called tsougrisma, which tests the strength of the egg and the players’ strategy.
The Greek Tradition of Red Eggs
In Greece, red Easter eggs are traditionally dyed on Holy Thursday, but they can be done on any day leading up to Easter Sunday. Once the strict fasting of Lent is over, eggs are one of the first food eaten or enjoyed as part of a family game.
The red color symbolizes the blood and sacrifice of Christ on the cross and the egg symbolizes rebirth. The first red egg that is dyed is considered to be the egg of the Virgin Mary. This egg is saved in the home for protection against the evil eye until the following year when a new “first egg” is dyed. Meanwhile, other people will take the egg to the midnight church service on Holy Saturday known as the anastisi.
Make the perfect dyed Greek Easter eggs
hen boiling the eggs make sure that they areat room temperature; leave them out of the fridge for 3 hours before start preparing this Greek Easter eggs recipe.Fresh eggs are less likely to crack, but will be more difficult to peel. For your Greek Easter eggs to have a vibrant colour, don’t forget to add the vinegar, or else your ‘red’ Greek Easter eggs will become pink and pale.
- 12 eggs
- 1 pack of Anatoli Egg Dye
- 6 cups warm water
- 1/3 cup vinegar
- Olive oil
- Wash the eggs thoroughly and place them gently in an empty pot. Add enough cold water to cover the eggs by 3-4 cm.
- Bring to the boil and add a pinch of salt for around 6 minutes.
- Turn the stove off and place the eggs under cold running water. This will prevent the egg from continuing to cook.
- After the eggs cool down, start preparing the dye for your Greek Easter eggs. Place the warm water and the Anatoli Egg Dye
dye powder in a large glass bowl and stir until dissolved. Add a touch of vinegar and stir to combine.
- Carefully the eggs in the bowl and set aside for 2-3 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel to let them dry for about 40 minutes.
- Give a little shine on your dyed Greek Easter eggs by wiping them with a paper towel with olive oil.
The Red Egg Easter Game (Tsougrisma)
The red egg Easter game is a fun way to enjoy your newly dyed eggs. To play, there are no rules about which end of the egg to tap first, how to hold it, or how to tap the egg against the other.
Red eggs are the key piece of a fun game called tsougrisma. It tests both the eggs’ strength and the players’ strategy. The word tsougrisma means “clinking together” or “clashing.” In Greek, it is τσούγκρισμα and is pronounced TSOO-grees-mah.
The game involes two players and two red eggs which the players can choose. The goal is to crack the opponent’s egg without cracking your own.
Each player holds a red egg, and one taps the end of her or his egg lightly against the end of the other player’s egg. When one egg’s end is cracked, the person with the clean egg uses the same end of the egg to try to crack the other end of the opponent’s egg. The winner is the one, whose egg will crack the eggs of all the other players. It is said that the winner will have good luck during the year.
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