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How Easter Egg Trees Almost Became an American Tradition

Every few years, you may be surprised by the number of Easter egg trees both inside and out. The custom spikes and then fades in America, but its roots go back further than you might know.

In 1890s New York, it was even something of a craze. But despite brief bursts of popularity, Kaufman writes, today “egg trees are a dismal failure when compared to Christmas trees, found only in a few public fora and very scattered homes.”

Much like the Christmas tree, the custom likely came to the United States with German immigrants, entrenching itself among the Pennsylvania Dutch. (Although the Easter egg tree is typically a bare-branched tree hung with eggs, rather than an evergreen.) Across parts of Pennsylvania and Appalachia, Kaufman writes, women considered egg trees a type of good-luck charm, especially when it came to fertility.

But hanging eggs on a tree has never become a widespread tradition in the US. Maybe the Easter egg tree never caught on in a big way because it doesn't serve the purpose of a Christmas tree. In the dark, cold days of winter, an evergreen tree with lights is a delightful respite. By Easter, warmer countries already have plenty of flowers blooming. Read about the varying tradition of the Easter egg tree at Atlas Obscura.


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It was a phase. A brief period of a couple of years when the kids were young enough to have fun with it. The U.S. doesn't have Ostereierbaum and the long history of linking eggs with rebirth, Spring, and as an ancient symbol of life. We have the Easter Bunny; and linking that to Easter doesn't work very well.
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