Saturday, March 22, 2008

How the Easter Bunny gets its Eggs

As every child in Germany knows, before and around Easter, hares are extemely busy, because they have to colour thousands of eggs and to hide them carefully in the gardens and woods, often together with chocolate eggs and chocolate bunnies.

Spoiler warning: Plot and/or ending details follow.

I do not remember at which age I become aware that the eggs my brother and I went searching on Easter morning had actually been coloured by my father the night before. But colouring eggs has been a traditional thing to do ever since in our family the night before Easter.

You just start by hard-boiling a dozen of eggs for about 8 to 10 minutes - best use a large pot, and give plenty of salt in the water to avoid premature breaking of the shells. While the eggs are boiling, prepare cans with the colourant. The dye my father has always been using comes in small tablets, which are dissolved in a mixture of hot water and vinegar.

The boiled eggs are put, still hot, in the colour bath, and let there for about five minutes each. There are several other methods to colour eggs, for example with "natural" colourants from plants, or with colourants for use with cold water. But, as a long experience shows, this procedure really works best and gives the most satisfactory results.

Once the eggs are coloured, you can rub them with some bacon rind to give them a nice, shiny finsish. Voilà!

All that remains to do: hide them! But try to make sure that you will find them again before next Easter.

Happy Easter!


  1. I thought that Easter eggs were made like this

  2. Oh, it's a Lindt chocolate bunny :-)

    I always preferred these wax sticks, quite messy, but the result is more interesting.

  3. Chris, how does that account for the color?

  4. Heh, bunnies don't lay eggs ... it's funny to see them associated. Perhaps if we want an ideal Easter-Oestre totem fertility mammal, we should have "The Easter duck-billed Platypus." Note: In a shameful episode of closed-mindedness, yet forgivable due to the sheer oddity of the claim, the DBP was not believed in by many naturalists who first heard of it.

  5. who knows, maybe in ten years from now, we will have bunnies that lay colored eggs for sale in the grocery store, and when they are done with their duty they drop dead and you can cook them for dinner.

  6. Hi Stefan/Bee,

    I had friends when I was younger who were Ukrainian and I was always amazed at the intricacies of their Easter Egg designs.

    I noticed Bee wrote wax sticks. We used to take wax crayons and do freestyle designs before they went in the coloured bath as youngsters.

    Nice to see this kind of post.

  7. I was just cruising Youtube videos on behalf of Bee/Kea, to break them out of their situation: Egghead Science requires Egg-tremely Egg-centric solutions. I cracked the problem.

    The 60's favorite "campy" sitcom Batman, featured a mad-scientist villain "Egghead".

    Eggie-Poo Gives boy Wonder a Shampoo

    "I am Egg-shausted, it's been a trying day & I must rest my fantastic brain for tonight"

    [ huge eggfight ]

    Thwack! Whamm!! Kapow! Bam! Splatt! Oooof!!
    Batman: "You put your eggs in one basket Egghead, a fatal mistake!"
    Robin: "Prepare yourselves for an egg-speditious defeat!"

    Seriously, here is the video that "cracked" the problem that eggheads ("scientists") have been striving for:

    The Art of Piano

    "There are many many people who strived for a career as a concert pianist [ scientist ]
    ahh..the Ones that SUCCEED..just accept the fact that they have fabulous technique..and accept the fact, you know, they can play the instrument..WHAT makes people SUCCEED, is how they are able to CAPTURE THE AUDIENCE"
    -- Schuyler Chapin/Impresario

    Arthur Rubinstein is the shining example. I listened to his recordings all throughout my PhD days.

    It's what the buzz is after the 2008 Fiscal Year HEP funding crisis: "falure in public perception".

    "Facts [ what scientists do ] tell, STORIES SELL [ role of journalists ]"

    With blogs (text, photo, video), scientists can be their OWN journalists

    A) Information ("Science")

    B) Entertainment ("Art")
    character development, personalities, wardrobe, etc

    Interestingly, L. Motl seems to have a "jump" on everyone since there is a Youtube video of Lumo's rendition of "Tom & Jerry". He has a Youtube account, with link on TRF. Many female pianists (Valentina Lisitsa), & violinists (Hilary Hahn, Lara St. John) have Youtube accounts, that showcase their performances.

    "my men fought like women and my women fought like men"
    -- Xerxes (from Kea's blog)

    Strange, 2 petite egg-centric petite female scientists are behaving like "men": avoiding their feminine charm. I've been egg-ing Bee/Kea (to no avail) to get with their "B) Entertainment" program. Get with the program.

    "You go girl"

    Break out of that "shell", & get cracking! I look forward to your egg-cellent performances.

  8. Hi Bee,

    This indeed brings back memories of my youth; although I must report that our tradition was to paint the eggs rather the dye them. As to egg you on some more consistent with the focus and the spirit of this blog I'd have you imagine what would a cosmic egg or perhaps a mathematically fractal egg look like. My hope is that serve to be both challenging and inspiring for the true eggheads of the world:-)

    Happy Easter,


  9. [ continued ]

    Kea (a particularly egg-centric theoretical physicist, closely related to Bee in that respect) is probably the Number 1 candidate in the above A+B "Art & Science" model:

    - Opera Singing background (she did it even in grad school)

    - outdoorsmanship (mountaineering, 30 yrs skiing, tramping).
    Her 8-day survival ordeal in the bush has no equal. L. Randall's had 2 major rock-climbing falls is a close 2nd.

    I'm with Gamma Liaison (bought out by Getty Images) received calls/emails from the head of programming for ABC (New York), National Geographic Channel documentary division, BBC Documentary, etc. They're looking for STORIES. She's like a phone-call (or email) away from getting a TV deal (or even film), probably a book deal for her 8-day survival odyssey. Except, she's changed her email/phone due to harassment issues.

    Then, there's Bee whose painting ("Art") is strangely muted on this blog (though, it's portrayed on her main website). Like most physics blogs, is mostly "A) Information".

    I was recently blown away to hear that Kea doesn't even own a camera (or better yet a video-camera)!! Bee is trying to ignore my video of her SUSY '06 talk ("hemline issue", an egg-centric aspect of women: self conscious of their appearance). Most physicist blogs use text, some pictures..hardly any videos. Embedded Youtube videos technically is NOT a blogging with video (since there is no RSS feed that picks up the video). My SUSY '06 video-blog ( has special iTunes compatible RSS feeds, which get syndicated over iTunes on the "SUSY '06" video-podcast. A trivial detail, but big point.

    Bee/Kea need to start video-blogging, to "Capture the Audience" (as per Schuyler Chapin/The Art of Piano)

    "He played boldly, & also with great delicacy"
    -- fan, Leif Andsnes concert (Carnegie Hall)

    Women scientists can project delicacy with their voice (Bee's voice is beautifully soft) & appearance (body+wardrobe package).

    Kea must have a really lovely voice & accent, her singing must be dreamy. She could easily have something like Elaine Page.

    Elaine Page interview
    at 4:31:
    "I had a bit of a difficult time, I had been out of work for 6 months, it was BAD. Not be a star, or be famous or anything , that didn't interest me at all, but I wanted to be able to have a know, entertain my friends at home, buy a new pair of boots when I needed or wanted. I was pretty low on a financial scale, I didn't have any money. I didn't have an agent, my car broke down, the curtains fell down in my apartment, you know was a pretty low moment in my life"

    [ this reminds me of Bee: car repair, Kea doesn't even drive. Both are expressing dissatisfaction with their lifestyle: "get me outta here!" ]

    "A Star is Born" [ got the Evita part ]

    "This is my moment, this is the time"
    "My phone didn;'t stop ringing, I was out giving interviews all the time. Everyone wanted a piece of me
    I suddenly realized, it wasn't playing the part in a musical. It wasn't just that, it was all the other stuff that went with it

    [ this is what the physicist community is missing, the additional "B) Entertainment" component for the complete A+B package. To.."capture the audience". L. Motl is delving in this, with his Youtube presence ]

    All the interviews, I couldn't go anywhere without being photographed
    I was inundated, my life, my entire life changed overnight, it was jolly frightening actually. I wasn't prepared for it, it wasn't something I knew how to handle. I didn't know what to do.

    "Well I identified with the act that she [ Evita ] was short in height [ laughter ] . because if she had been 5' 6" I wouldn't have got the part. Because I'm under 5' tall.

    [ Bee was described by a colleague as a "dwarf", & Kea seems to be pretty petite ]

    I think little people seem to be feisty, & have a lot to prove you know, because we get ignored a lot down here. What I mean, so she had & wanted to be heard..hey, you know, I'm down here, listen to me.

    I knew i had a talent. And, I don't like to be ignored, but, I don't want to be.. famous that never entered my mind when I looked at the role & looked at her [ Evita ] & her character. She's little, she's feisty, she had drive & energy..all the things I have. She was passionate which I am, about my work. I love clothes, she obviously seemed to.

    [ Kea has publicly described herself as feisty (man, does she love mathematics), Bee certainly has fight ]

    "I love her accent"
    -- charley1999

    E. Paige got her "break" (Evita role, "A star is born"), & the rest is history. Kea looks like she's on the verge of her break (TV/movie/book deal), using her outdoor/singing skills ("B) Entertainment"). She can fund her own science research, no more waitressing for her! Bee was having fun at the recent SciBarCamp (note that there was a talk "Robert Linsley: Art & Science "), because she was exploring an extra-dimensional part of her persona ("Art").

    I recently got an email from Bee for that Sept/08 Science/Society/Information conference ( What needs to happen by then, is to have Bee/Kea blogging videos of themselves. We want to hear those voices (plus the body/wardrobe package) behind those fascinating scientists. The appeal of women-scientists is their UNIQUENESS (as opposed to the flawed EOP tactic, which is essentially reverse-discrimination of males).

    "Egg-centric Physics requires Egg-cellent PR. Specifically, this requires egg-centric women physicists to implement Egg-cellent Ideas ("Concept" = A+B model) using Egg-cellent Technology [ multimedia ]"

  10. Hmm, you hatch them eggs, and you get this?

    Happy Easter, Holi, B'day of the Prophet and Nawroz!

  11. Chimpanzee has gone a bit ova' the limit, eh?

  12. Ya, some of his comments may set off a roe!


  13. Hi Bee,

    Re: Coloured eggs, the rabbit/chicken eggs could be red or blue if they are travelling away/towards you at speeds close to the speed of light.

    PS: Just looking at your SUSY '06 video & can find nothing at all wrong with your hemline. However, the sound recording level could have been higher.

  14. Chimpanzee:

    What needs to happen by then, is to have Bee/Kea blogging videos of themselves

    I already told you, at least twice, that I have not the slightest interest in blogging videos of myself. To begin with, I just don't have the time to.

    Besides this, I do have a YouTube account. If somebody could tell me the essential trick how I get to upload a video without the result being complete crap, I would probably upload videos more often (yes, I've already downscaled the picture size and set the framerate to 24 or so. Looks perfect on my computer. Is crap after upload.) Goes along the lines of how much time am I willing to spend on figuring out stuff like that. (Answer: very little. The reason why I'm using Flickr is that it just works.)

    Since you mention the conference, if you want to come would you confirm my invitation by email. I hate to point it out, but this is not a public event, and if you're not on the list of participants you'll get a problem with security. Just in case you were planning on hanging around like at the SUSY: this is not going to work. Best,


  15. Hey Phil,

    Regarding Cosmic Eggs, I think you missed last year's Easter post Check This Out. Best,


  16. Hi Bee,

    “Regarding Cosmic Eggs, I think you missed last year's Easter post Check This Out.”

    Why am I not surprised by this? Although I would never claim to being of like ability, it does however seem that sometimes we are of like mind. I would point out however that if the cosmic egg you portray were to be considered seriously, that it could hold interesting and disturbing implications for the nature and beginnings of the universe; for now we would not only have to strive to discover the nature of dark matter and energy yet also that of the cosmic chicken:-)



  17. Plato's definition of God. A Soccer Ball? A Square? A Easter Egg.... and we are given all these crazy ideas about the "mathematical nature of the universe."

    Even Lewis Carroll understood the nature of mathematics could be told in a fantasy like story? Alice in Wonderland? And now, they have this crazy machine called Alice.

  18. Plato's definition of God. A Soccer Ball? A Square? A Easter Egg....

    nonsense. God is a Calabi-Yau manifold, as you should know.

  19. who knows, maybe in ten years from now, we will have bunnies that lay colored eggs for sale in the grocery store, and when they are done with their duty they drop dead and you can cook them for dinner.

    Jesus, don't let the veg-heads catch you saying that. That's all I got. I dont' celebrate anything.

  20. hey bellamy, I'm a veg-head myself, broccoli growing out my ears and stuff ;-). I wouldn't eat neither the eggs nor the bunny, but my husband tells me bunnies are quite tasty actually. on a slightly more serious note, I am sure in the not so far future people will attempt to grow meat (or other organs for that matter) in the lab. will be interesting to see what this does to the vegetarian fraction of the population. best,


  21. nonsense. God is a Calabi-Yau manifold, as you should know.

    Perspective has been pushed back to the "Microseconds" on this bloggery, and while we would like experimental data for consideration, there is room to think that there is something going on in a geometrical way?:)Just not in the blackhole?:)Hehe!

    The new data and ideas have not only challenged the old ways of thinking, they have also pointed to the steps required to make progress. Many advances are within reach of our current program; others are close at hand. We are extraordinarily fortunate to live in a time when the great questions are yielding a whole new level of understanding. We should seize the moment and embrace the challenges.

    While this blog entry is labelled a distraction, there is useful information here considering we are question the nature of the Easter Bunny?:)We use elephants like Babar, or Alice, as mentioned previously. But science knows that it improves through it attempts at validation, and improving from previous "stop off points."

    Considering that at 13.7 billions years ago, dark matter was considered to be 63%, is today at 23%, and dark energy at 72% .

    See:WMAP Reveals Neutrinos, End of Dark Ages, First Second of Universe

    Which Calabi Yau?:)

  22. You know, Bee, I had a feeling. I'm an advocate of Metabolic and Blood Typing, myself. I've done various kinds of dietary regimes, and I my digestive system says 'MEAT'. I feel hollow and logey, otherwise. I eat meat and I instantly perk up if tired.

    As for growing organs, there's a guy who's printing them, already. No joke.

  23. Bee -

    Try tagging &fmt=18 at the
    end of the youtube url They
    are now re-encoding stuff at
    high res than before. Its a
    bit hit or miss, some have
    been many have not.

  24. The Latvians have a special way to decorate Easter Eggs using onion skin and simple plants picked from the outdoors. Here are some examples: Egg 1, Egg 2, Egg 3.

    You can see the variety of designs at this Egg Gallery

    And here is how the Latvian eggs are made.


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