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Mary Magdalene & the Red Egg

Updated: May 13, 2023

His Girl Sunday Catholic liturgical living blog banner the story of the red egg. Red eggs sit in a woven basket with a heart shaped decorative object in the background.

red egg tradition, mary magdalene, he is risen


Red egg with ornate white details. His Girl Sunday shares the story of the red egg tradition from St. Mary Magdalene.

Person holding a red egg against a gold background. Catholic liturgical living blogger describes the story of the red egg from St. Mary Magdalene.

Red eggs scattered on a white table. Catholic liturgical living blog His Girl Sunday explains the red egg is a symbol that means He is risen.

Along with Mary Magdalene's mission to proclaim the resurrection, it is believed that she also was seeking to have Pontius Pilate removed from his role as governor of Judea for having an innocent man, Jesus, sentenced to death. After the emperor witnessed the eggs change color he did in fact honor her request by taking away his authority and having him sent to Gaul.

There is also another story which states that Mary Magdalene brought a basket of white hard boiled eggs with her to the tomb of Jesus, maybe as a meal for herself and the others that joined her that morning. When she arrived at the tomb and saw that the stone had been rolled away and the tomb was empty, she also witnessed that all the eggs in her basket had turned from white to red.

While I can't say that either of these situations factually or historically took place, I like to think that at least one of them did and with great faith I believe in the stories of our Catholic tradition.

In fact, as I share that I am reminded of my time spent in Rome. I went on a tour of St. Paul outside the walls which has all the past pope's images along the wall of the Cathedral. The story goes that the second coming will happen when the last pope's image completes the lineup. A few of my travelling companions asked our Italian tour guide if this was true along with a string of questions, "How can we believe this?" "Is there any proof for this?" "How do you know this?" As the questions rolled the tour guide shook her head and said, "you Americans, you always think you need a concrete answer for everything." I couldn't help but chuckle to myself because there really is so much truth to this. Sometimes we overthink and overanalyze every part of our faith that we take the belief, wonder, and mystery out of it. All to say, let's keep the wonder of this story, and the truth that it communicates alive.

Red eggs sit in an egg carton. The egg is a symbol of new life.

St. Mary Magdalene stands in front of the Emperor holding a red egg. The red egg means that Jesus is risen from the dead.

The egg is considered to be a symbol of the Resurrection because it signifies new life. The hardness of the shell has been likened to the tomb that Jesus was laid in after His passion and death. And it is significant note that according to the Gospels, Mary Magdalene was the first person to witness the resurrection of Christ. She proclaims to those around her that Jesus Christ is risen, and the fact that the story of the egg connects us to her means that we can bear witness to this truth just as she did.

Two hands hold a light red egg. Liturgical living can be done by sharing the red egg with someone else or decorating your Catholic home with red eggs.

I can't leave you with the story alone; I have a couple of ways that I think will spread the joy of the Easter story to those in your community. Don't think that it is too late to dye or decorate with red eggs. Eastertide goes through the octave into an entire season, and I think it's worth saying that it is okay to not just move on to the next thing, but to keep our hearts focused on the resurrection as much as we can.

Secondly, you can share a red egg just as Mary Magdalene does to someone around you. How special would that be to pick a couple of your friends to mail a wooden red egg to with the message "He is Risen" and the story that I have shared with you today. Perhaps you can gift your children's teachers with one or your neighbors. I really like that this has such "pay it forward" potential. You share a red egg, and perhaps you inspire someone else to do it too. Before you know it, the custom of proclaiming the resurrection is spreading within your community.

Catholic icon of St. Mary Magdalene holding a red egg.

Share your red egg stories or crafts with me. Sign up to leave a comment or follow along on FB @hisgirlsunday or Instagram @steffani_hisgirlsunday.

His Girl Sunday see you in the Eucharist

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