Appalachia Holidays in Appalachia

Easter In North Carolina

Easter In Appalachia how to dye eggs naturally

The Frank C. Brown Collection of North Carolina Folklore has this to share about Easter:

At Easter the children always select a nest for the rooster to lay in, and on Easter morning they visit it to find colored eggs. Egg hunts are the usual thing, and at these the children “pip” eggs with each other. Each takes an egg and they crack the eggs together to see which will not get broken. Various games are played. Everyone in the community serves eggs prepared in various ways at all the meals on Easter Day. (Gertrude Allen Vaught)

At Easter people appear in new clothes if possible. (Elsie Doxey)

Easter eggs may be died yellow with Hickory bark. (Zilpha Frisbie)

Take bark or old walnut hulls and boil them in water. Then strain off the water and you have a brown dye. My grandmother used to make this dye for dyeing yarn. She also used it for coloring Easter eggs. (Eleanor Simpson)


All of the quotes from the book make sense in present day Appalachia-well except the part about the rooster laying in the nest. I wonder if that was a typo, if she misspoke, or if it was some sort of inside joke because even children would have known roosters don’t lay eggs.



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  • Reply
    josé Luis
    March 30, 2013 at 10:18 pm

    Hello tipper, very far from the Appalachian Trail, from the country that is further south of our America, sharing the threads here and Easter eggs, of all sizes, made ​​of chocolate, confectionery and small stuffed toys for children I wish all your family, your friends and all of the Appalachian mountain very happy Easter and the Lord Jesus, enlighten the world for peace and love in order to get to every home.
    From Buenos Aires, Argentina, José Luis.

  • Reply
    March 30, 2013 at 5:30 pm

    We had a ministry in Georgia to teach English to internationals. We started a church for Koreans and in trying to teach them about our customs we held an Easter egg hunt at our house. About 60 children and adults came. We explained how we had divided the yard into three sections for different ages. When my wife yelled, “Go.” the adults ran over children to get to the eggs. The hunt was for children but the adults had never experienced one and thought it was for everyone. We had hidden eggs in a 3 acre front yard and found missed eggs for several months after.

  • Reply
    March 30, 2013 at 4:32 pm

    When we had chickens growing up, I remember our Dad calling unusually large hen eggs Rooster eggs, he said because it was thought if they were fertilized and hatched, a rooster would come out of them…but I bet some scientists would scoff at that nowadays.
    I do vaguely remember one year dyeing eggs as they boiled – one batch with the peels off a brown onion and one with juice from canned beets. The ones with canned beets turned out a pretty light pink; the ones with the onion peels weren’t so pretty though – just beige. But I bet one could also dye eggs with juice from blueberries and get a right pretty color. Dontchathink?
    God bless.

  • Reply
    March 30, 2013 at 3:58 pm

    Just a reminder that we’re all
    hopin’ youn’ze get well soon.
    Happy Easter to everyone!!!…Ken

  • Reply
    March 30, 2013 at 2:45 pm


  • Reply
    March 30, 2013 at 12:25 pm

    I’ve watched youngin’s as they
    searched for Easter Eggs. That is
    a nice tradition, and to see the
    look of surprise when they find
    one is rewarding. For years my
    daddy was the Sunday School
    Superintendent at our Church, but
    he was a prankster too. He made me
    an Ester Egg to fight with, and
    out of Talc. That thing was slick
    as a button, he scraped it with
    his knife then sanded it smoothe.
    Then he warned me to do like the
    bigger boys did, let only the
    pointed end stick out to fight with. There was some sad faces
    after I broke their prize eggs,
    then I’d go off and snigger. That
    was fun!…Ken

  • Reply
    March 30, 2013 at 12:24 pm

    Hi Tipper,First of all,Thank you Jesus.I remember one Easter I didn’t find my basket before having to leave for Church,guess who found it before me,the ants!Blessed Day to all. Jean

  • Reply
    March 30, 2013 at 10:59 am

    We used to have Easter Egg Hunts when we were little kids. And, usually if we weren’t closely supervised it would sometimes end in an egg fight. Had a little cousin that always got a little mad when she didn’t find the prize egg. You know, I must have been a sweet little boy cause she would bite the devil out of me every time she got the chance and no one was looking. LOL. She finally grew out of that, thank goodness.

  • Reply
    Kimberly Burnette
    March 30, 2013 at 9:57 am

    My grandma always made herself, my mom, and me a new dress for Easter each year. I can remember my mom taking me to the store and she would buy me new white shoes each Easter. We would go to church and when we got home, we would have a big feast that always included ham and deviled eggs. Then, we would have an egg hunt. My parents or grandparents would hide the eggs outdoors or if the weather was bad, they would hide them in the house.
    We always boiled and dyed the eggs the day before Easter.
    I love the part about the rooster laying eggs! I have a feeling that it was just a funny thing to say and perhaps the kids were encouraged to believe that it was a miraculous thing too! 🙂

  • Reply
    March 30, 2013 at 9:34 am

    My earliest memory of Easter was going to church and getting an Easter basket filled with candy we had never seen before. The few pieces we got at Christmas was nothing compared to what we found in our basket. They usually had one of those chocolate covered eggs with fruit and nuts inside.
    We all took eggs to school and had a big hunt at recess. No telling how long some of those eggs had been unrefrigerated! Most people used food coloring to dye their eggs.
    I’m laughing so hard at B. Ruth’s post!

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    March 30, 2013 at 8:53 am

    As a child I was told that roosters laid square eggs and that only the extremely lucky ever found one.
    “Pip” was not a term we used. With us it was all out War. My family was in the egg business so we didn’t suffer from lack of ammunition, especially eggs that were too small, too large, double yolked or misshaped. While other children might could bring half a dozen eggs to the fight, I could bring a flat or more. A flat held 3 dozen eggs.

  • Reply
    Karen Larsen
    March 30, 2013 at 8:38 am

    You mean these little children thought roosters laid eggs??!! Guess a lesson in the birds and the bees was in order! Happy Easter to the whole Blind Pig gang and readers…..

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    March 30, 2013 at 8:35 am

    I know of a new outfit for Easter and dying eggs. I don’t know about rooster laying eggs, colored or plain.
    When I was small my family took all their kids to my cousins house and we had Easter egg hunts. The eggs had an amount of money written on them, This was usually a nickle, a done, a quarter and such. Small amounts of money by current standards.
    I could do with eggs at every meal prepared in various ways. I love eggs.
    A happy time of spring and new beginnings to everyone!

  • Reply
    B. ruth
    March 30, 2013 at 8:18 am

    “Roosters” don’t lay aigs but neither do “Rabbits”…Maybe the rooster thang was closer to the truth than tellin’ them they was rabbits in the nest!
    I wonder if those aigs were biled?
    If not playin’ the pippin’ game would be kinda messy. Talk about gommin’ up a place…ewwwww!
    Dad said they used to play that game when he was a kid. He said the trick to winning, was cupping the hand and hitting the other egg with his just off to the side of the other egg. He says the small side on the end was the hardest.
    I always wondered how those little chicks pipped out of those eggs, till I saw they had a little sharp hook of a thang on their beak, that disapears soon, after they start runnin’ around. I know there is a fancy name for it but I done forgot what it is.
    Speaking of rabbits, we came in last night and rabbits were hopping every where. Someone around here must’ve laid the cayotes down a bit. For quite a while we had seen a decrease in our rabbits..Don’t take long for them to make up for lost time! Ha!Sure do wish I had them some lettuce, radishes, carrots and spinach planted for them to eat…Not a chance now that it is so wet.
    Later, and Thanks Tipper
    PS…Be sure to find all your eggs if you have to hide them in the house. Nothing like finding one hid down in the couch a year later! eeewwwwww!

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    March 30, 2013 at 7:24 am

    Love the bit about the rooster. We of course had the Easter bunny and an egg hunt. Plus a big basket of Easter candy

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