For as long as there has been Easter, there has also been Easter eggs. The egg is seen as a symbol of new life. For thousands of years, it has been the custom to give eggs as gifts at spring festivals. A question often asked by children is, "Why does a bunny bring Easter eggs and not a chicken?" There seems to be two explanations. First, the goddess, Eastre's, favourite animal was a hare; hence it was believed that a hare delivered her eggs. A second explanation is based upon a legend about a woman who dyed eggs for her children at Easter. She hid them in a nest and when the children found the nest, a big rabbit hopped away. They thought the rabbit brought the eggs, and the story spread.
Easter is a major celebration in the Ukraine. Part of this celebration involves the decoration of eggs. Eggs decorated with plain colors or simple designs are called krasanki. Pysanki are extraordinary, distinctive eggs which may take 6-8 hours to decorate. An old Ukraninan custom involved single women dropping their pysanki into a stream in hopes that the eggs would be retreived by a suitor, for the girls had inscribed their names on the eggs.
The Easter Egg Tree is a custom that has come to us from several European coutries, particularly Germany and the Ukraine: "The Easter egg tree had become a fairly recent tradition in America because of the widespread popularity of Katherine Milhous's children's book, "The Egg Tree." This custom of decorating evergreens or leafless trees with colored eggs had its origin in the years following the Civil War. The older practice of suspending eggs in their natural colors on bushed and small trees outdoors was a custom of earlier date."