On the Ostrich Egg

WingedWonders“The ostrich egg itself, being the largest known to humans, became a symbol of the creation, for many belief systems have the Primal Egg as the source of all things created. So also by association it became a symbol of fertility and of the hidden nature of life before it becomes visible at birth. Philo made a direct relation between this idea and the roasted egg eaten by Jews as part of the Passover meal, commemorating the Exodus from Egypt and their rebirth as a nation. It was also the rebirth of the year at springtime.

The Easter egg is a continuation of this, symbolizing the burial and resurrection of Jesus, a new birth and new creation. From the Middle Ages, church inventories mentioned placing an ostrich egg on the altar at Easter and other holy days. Today in Coptic churches this is still the practice. In the Spanish city of Burgos, in the cathedral, an ostrich egg is placed at the feet of the crucified Christ.”

Peter Watkins and Jonathan Stockland
Winged Wonders: A Celebration of Birds in Human History (p. 90)

 

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