People of the Victorian Era knew how to have fun with eggs. Among their many crazy Spring time games, they let the good Easter eggs roll. That was after they danced and hopped over them.
Behold the egg — the perfect symbol of the new life of spring. People have been coloring, decorating and exchanging eggs in springtime celebrations for centuries. Many of these eggs were eaten, but others were destined for grander purposes.
Victorian Eggs On A Roll
During the reign of Queen Victoria, England was emerging from its historic Puritanical ban on pleasure and her people were embracing a new era of celebrations. Many of the traditions from these times are still popular today.
People would decorate Easter eggs with colors extracted from cranberries, beets, orange and lemon peels. Pictures were drawn, other decorations applied, and the eggs were ready to rumble.
A favorite game was one in which eggs were rolled down a steep slope. The owner of the egg that remained intact for the longest distance won to cheering crowds.
In another game, players would hold an egg in the palm of the hand and bang against an opponent’s egg. The egg that broke first lost the game.
The Egg Dance is a traditional Easter game dating back to the 1400s. Eggs were laid on the ground and contestants danced among them. The dancer who damaged the fewest number of eggs won. People danced their way into the Victorian Era.
A famous egg dance was described in the 1895 issue of American Magazine. It described the wedding between Margaret of Austria and Philibert of Savoy on Easter Monday of 1498, during which the couple danced between 100 eggs. When they finished without breaking a single one, even their disapproving parents could not oppose their union.
Throughout the United Kingdom, the egg dance consisted of small hopping steps. It was sometimes referred to as the hop-egg. The Saxon word hoppe means “to dance.” This type of dance was brought to England from Germany by the Saxons as early as in the 5th century.
In case you’re wondering, yes, people continue the Egg Dance tradition today.
Check out this blindfolded egg dance by Monkseaton Morris Men at Chateau-sur-Allier, 2006. The dancers are Peter Brown and Paul Nicholson.
And here’s another performed by Monkseaton Morris Men in Windsor during the Yateley Morris Men Day of Dance, September 2011.
Racing Nellie Bly
Victorian Secrets From Footnotes In History