In the good old times Easter eggs were often adorned with tiny pictures or emblematical devices and sentimental mottoes. Such eggs did duty as valentines, and were afterward preserved in the homes of the happy pairs. That the inscription might be read without touching the frail treasure, the egg was often kept in a glass. The dates on these eggs were considered as reliable evidence as those from a tombstone.
The new fashion of egg photographs is but a revival of this old custom. Many lovers of the present day have been made happy by receiving an Easter egg bearing a photograph of their sweethearts.
Photographs of distinguished persons are often pasted on Easter eggs and sent to their friends or more often their enemies. A patriotic German would hardly care to receive a Boulanger egg, or a Frenchman one bearing Bismarck’s face.
An iron egg is to be seen in one of the grandest of the European museums, which was once sent as a betrothal gift from a prince to a princess. The lady angry at so mean a present, flung it to the floor, when a spring opened showing a silver lining, a second opening revealed a yolk of gold, and a third and fourth displayed diamonds and rubies, by which the lady’s displeasure was soon assuaged.
“The marriage aux ceufs,” between Marguerite of Austria, gouvernante of Flanders, and Philibert the Handsome, Duke of Savoy, is a still more romantic story. It was the custom on Easter Monday in the district of Bresse to scatter a hundred eggs on a level place, covered by sand. Then a lad and lass, hand in hand, would execute the dance of the country. If they succeeded without breaking an egg they were considered affianced, even if it were against their parents’ will.
On this occasion three couples had tried in vain, but Savoy and Austria accomplished the dance without crushing a single shell. When Philibert said, “Let us adopt the custom of Bresse,” Marguerite suffered her hand to remain in his, and history tells us that their married life was long and happy.
Source: Easter Eggs: facts and fancies about them, com. Anna Barrows