When it comes to Easter, memories turn to plastic eggs, colorful baskets, and fake grass. We forget that it’s also a time to honor the cycles of the seasons, nature’s forthcoming abundance, and all the newness that comes with warmer weather. In fact, Easter is a great time to celebrate nature by bringing more of it into your décor!
Easter is a celebration of spring and newness
In ancient times, the spring equinox coincided with a holiday celebrating the goddess Eostre, or Ostara, and her abundance and fertility. If you were living at this time when your livelihood depended on the food you could grow and store, this turn of the cycles was incredibly important and signified an end to the starvation that could occur during winter months. The symbols associated with this goddess were the egg and the rabbit, one of the most fertile animals on earth. Thus, the Easter egg and Easter bunny were born.
A Christian holiday, Easter celebrates the resurrected Christ, who brings newness, abundance and light to believers. But no matter why you celebrate Easter, incorporating natural egg dyes, textiles, colors and seasonal foods connects you with the earth and all that spring offers.
How do you make natural dyes?
There are many ingredients in your local grocery store with which to create natural Easter egg dyes. The beautiful thing is that the dyes made from foods generally have a very deep and rich color, not something you find in packaged dyes. Kids will also enjoy discovering nature’s palette. Who knew that onion skins, for instance, create a gorgeous yellow-orange color? Or that the purple-pink juice in red beets that gets all over your hands when cooking them turns an egg a beautifully deep reddish-plum color?
Use the following foods to create a whole palette of colors for your Easter eggs this year:
- Purple cabbage = blue
- Red onion skins = lavender or red
- Yellow onion skins = orange
- Shredded red beets = pink
- Turmeric = yellow
- Red Zinger tea bags = lavender
Dying eggs naturally takes a little more work upfront, and expect the eggs to marinate longer than with in-store–bought dyes. The colors are worth it, though, and add an element of natural beauty to any table. Plus, because your dyes are naturally nontoxic, you don’t need to worry about little hands eating the eggs later.
Plan to use about a cup of food scraps per cup of water, except for turmeric or other spices, which will only require about two tablespoons. Bring water to a boil and add food scraps (for example, about one cup of purple cabbage to 1 cup water). Boil for 15-30 minutes or until your desired color is reached. Then add about one tablespoon of white vinegar per cup of water. Allow to cool and then pour the dye over the eggs in a resealable container. Transfer the container to the fridge. The longer they set, the more color they absorb. Experiment with how deep you want your shades of purple, blue, red, etc. Test them after a few hours, then a day, and so on.
More natural Easter ideas
Want to take it a step further? Why not go for natural-colored baskets this year? If you want to make your celebration even more eco-friendly, skip the fake grass and use grass made from paper or finely shaved wood instead. Fabric or scarves add a touch of fun. Have the kids create fun paper decorations like construction paper chains, tissue-paper flowers, or even decorated bunny cut-outs.
The best part about using more natural décor in your Easter celebration is that it will be easier on both the planet and your wallet. Incorporate some beautiful, natural colors into your spring this year and have some fun experimenting in the kitchen and at the art table while reconnecting with the earth and all of the abundance it offers!