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The Easter egg tree is a traditional decoration in Germany, Austria and several other countries in Eastern Europe. Though this tradition may hearken back to pagan ideas of sacrificing animals on trees, the egg has long been preempted as a Christian symbol, particularly connected to the ideas of rebirth and resurrection associated with Easter. Easter egg trees usually are either real outdoor trees or indoor plants or branches that have beautifully colored eggs hung upon them. In Germany people may find decorated trees outside during the Easter season, though many people also have them in their homes, and the tradition is definitely catching on in other countries, especially since the 1950s publication of Katherine Milhous’ The Easter Egg Tree, an award winning children’s story.
People can purchase Easter egg trees that are ready made, but many people prefer to make their own trees and enjoy creating one as an Easter craft. Especially when kids may be too old to hunt eggs, adding this tradition to homes may be a great idea. The tree also makes for a perfect Easter centerpiece on a dining table.
In most case, eggs used on an Easter egg tree are not hardboiled, which is a common method of coloring eggs in places like the US. Instead the egg yolk and white are blown out of the egg, which makes the remaining shell very light in weight. A small hole at the top of each egg can be used to affix a small ribbon or hanger.
Eggs are usually dyed and dyes may be bright or muted colors depending on preference. Some people paint their eggs instead, and either method is completely acceptable. A few people use chicken eggs that are already colored. Green or blue eggs from Aracauna hens or red eggs from Marans hens can be used instead, though these eggs may be more expensive and difficult to find.
The tree itself can be a lot of different things. Some people use tree branches and arrange them artfully in a vase. Some bush branches are preferred for this too, and would include things like ornamental quince or pussy willows. A blended tradition could hang eggs on larger Japanese bonsai plants, and others buy artificial plants or tiny trees on which to hang the eggs. It’s really a matter of personal preference.
For those who’d rather skip finding branches or plants and dying eggs, there are many websites that offer paper Easter egg tree crafts. These may be fun for parents and kids to make together. Others make eggs out of materials like play dough or clay, and this could be a great way to allow very little kids to participate in creating an Easter egg tree for the home.