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The Stations of the SunA History of the Ritual Year in Britain$
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Ronald Hutton

Print publication date: 1996

Print ISBN-13: 9780198205708

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198205708.001.0001

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An Egg at Easter

An Egg at Easter

(p.198) 19 An Egg at Easter
The Stations of the Sun

Ronald Hutton

Oxford University Press

The bird's egg has always been one of the most ubiquitous human symbols of new life in general and of spring in particular. The classic study of this image was made in 1971 by Venetia Newall, in a book that documented the giving of eggs at Easter, often decorated, all across Europe and western Asia in historic times. In this respect, the medieval prohibition of the eating of eggs at Lent was neatly contrived to enhance the exchange and consumption of them at the most appropriate season, in which the fast terminated. This was the more important in that they represented one of the chief delicacies possible to that large proportion of the population which was too poor to afford meat. Eggs also represented one of the principal commodities in which the Good Friday and Easter offerings to the Church could be made.

Keywords:   egg, Venetia Newall, Easter, Europe, Asia, Lent, delicacies, commodities, Good Friday, Church

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