A Page in Time

S.A.P.A Poul­try Bul­letin

The Poultry Bulletin - - CONTENTS -

From the egg con­trol board

Be­sides be­ing an ex­tremely valu­able food, eggs have long ap­peared in var­i­ous cus­toms, tra­di­tions and in id­iom through­out the world.

Strange say­ings

“Ihave eggs on the spit”, mean­ing I am very busy, orig­i­nated from an old cus­tom of boil­ing eggs, re­mov­ing yolks and spic­ing them and then putting them to­gether and roast­ing on a spit – all of which took time and at­ten­tion.

“Egg-wife’s trot”, mean­ing a very cau­tious pace like a house-wife car­ry­ing eggs to mar­ket in her pan­niered skirt.

Cus­toms, Tra­di­tions and Myths

The Phoeni­cians, Egyp­tians, Hin­dus, Ja­panese and many an­cient na­tions main­tained that the earth was egg-shaped and was hatched from an egg made by the Cre­ator.

“The mun­dane egg”, in some mytholo­gies a bird is rep­re­sented as lay­ing the mun­dane egg on the pri­mor­dial wa­ters. This an­cient idea is at­trib­uted to Or­pheus. Many peo­ple af­ter eat­ing boiled eggs crush the shell – ac­cord­ing to Sir Thomas Browne “this is a su­per­sti­tion and the in­tent thereof was to pre­vent witch­craft in case witches drew or pricked their names on the shell, the break­ing of the shell de­stroyed this”.

The Etr­uscans be­lieved that

egg shells were witches gob­lets used for drink­ing. To pre­vent witches from us­ing them, one should af­ter eat­ing an egg break the shell into frag­ments and throw it into a run­ning stream and say: “If thou art a witch Go, O devil’s daugh­ter! And be borne away On run­ning wa­ter! Many sailors would never re­fer to eggs by name at sea, the term round­about was used in­stead.

In 1673 it was of­ten thought that witches used egg shells to travel in, an­other good rea­son to break the shell in frag­ments.

In the north of England an egg is of­ten pre­sented to a new born baby as a sym­bol that he should never want.

In Northumberland on St. Agnes’ Eve a girl would eat an egg which had been hard­boiled, the egg re­moved and the shell filled with salt. The girl had to eat this, shell and all, and go to bed back­wards say­ing:

“Sweet Agnes word they fast If ever I be marry man, Or ever man to marry me, I hope him this night to see”.

A Lin­colnshire folk cure for bed-wet­ting is to give the child egg shell ground up in milk or wa­ter.

Egg and Easter

Eggs are sym­bols of res­ur­rec­tion and con­tin­ued life. Coloured eggs were ex­changed in an­tiq­uity at the Spring Fes­ti­val by Greeks, Ro­mans, Per­sians and Chi­nese. As we to­day use Easter Eggs.

In some parts of Europe scar­let dyed eggs are planted in the fields and vine­yards to pro­tect the crops from thun­der and light­ning.

Egg Feast on Egg Satur­day

In Ox­ford the Satur­day pre­ced­ing Shrove Tues­day used to be so called be­cause, as the eat­ing of eggs was for­bid­den dur­ing Lent, the schol­ars took leave of them on that day. They were al­lowed to be eaten again at Easter, hence the coloured Easter eggs.

In Pre­ston on Easter Mon­day af­ter­noon the chil­dren roll hard­boiled eggs down the slopes of the Park and race to the River. This is linked with the old “New life” cus­toms of Spring and Easter.

Easter Eggs are sym­bolic cre­ation or the re­cre­ation of Spring. The prac­tice of pre­sent­ing them at Easter came to England in the 19th Cen­tury from Ger­many.

Eggs and Poul­try

An old poul­try su­per­sti­tion was that if one burnt an egg shell, all the birds would cease lay­ing. An old English su­per­sti­tion was that if eggs are set un­der a hen at the new moon, they will not go bad. In Scot­land it was be­lieved that if a poul­try farmer de­sired cock­erels, eggs would be set at the flood of the tide, if hens, at the ebb. In Wales, spring flow­ers must never be brought in­side or the hens will not hatch their eggs. In Sus­sex, if a sin­gle prim­rose is brought indoors, it will make the hen hatch only one egg out of a clutch.

In parts of England, it is said to be un­lucky to bring eggs into the house or take them out af­ter sun­set. They must never be sold af­ter sun­set or taken aboard ship. The last egg laid by an old hen is of­ten kept on some farms as a charm to pro­tect the poul­try. An egg laid on Good Fri­day serves the same pur­pose. In the not too re­mote past, it was cus­tom­ary for the rus­tic house­wife in England on plac­ing eggs in a nest for in­cu­ba­tion, to swing a lighted can­dle over them as a magic charm to pre­vent hawks, crows and other birds of prey from car­ry­ing away the chicks.


In the old days dreams of hens, chick­ens and eggs had some pe­cu­liar sym­bol­isms: - To dream of hens and chick­ens was re­garded as a warn­ing of com­ing dan­ger.

To dream of sell­ing eggs for gold in­di­cated good for­tune, but to dream of sell­ing them for sil­ver in­di­cated in­dif­fer­ent suc­cess in busi­ness, love or war.

To dream of buy­ing eggs was said to in­di­cate the gath­er­ing of great riches.

Did you know that eggs of­ten ap­pear as an im­por­tant part of an en­tire menu? They are used in breads, muffins, pud­dings and soups

Special Hints

Use left-over egg yolks for may­on­naise or salad dress­ing. Beat left over egg yolks into hot mashed pota­toes for ex­tra nour­ish­ment. Beat left over egg yolks in a glass of milk or orange juice, add a lit­tle sugar and serve. Use left­over stiffly beaten egg whites for a fa­cial. This has long been rec­og­nized in Europe as an ex­cel­lent fa­cial toner. Use left­over egg whites in pud­dings and for meringues.

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