It's almost Easter and almost time for my favorite holiday activity since I was young - decorating eggs! My mom would get out all the coffee cups, fill them with water and a splash of vinegar. Then, she would get the food coloring from her baking supplies and add drops of color to each cup. Back then, the only colors in the food coloring pack were yellow, green, red, and blue, so if you wanted to make purple or orange, you had to know which colors to mix. It was a lesson in itself. Sometimes, if we wanted to get really artsy, we would create designs on them with white crayons. We wouldn't really know what the designs looked like until we dipped the eggs into the color. The wax in the crayon would resist the food coloring and the design would appear white on the colored egg. It was another lesson.
Tsarevich Fabergé Egg - public domain photo from wikimedia commonsIt is believed the Tsar was inspired by an elaborately decorated egg made for the Tsarina's father, the King of Denmark, that captivated her when she was young. Maria was captivated by the Fabergé egg, as well, so the tradition continued, eventually carried on by Alexander's son, Tsar Nicholas II. Fabergé was commissioned year after year to created elaborately adorned eggs for the Russian royal family. He was given full creative license with the only stipulation being that the egg must open and contain a surprise. Of the 50 eggs created for the royal family, 44 are known to survive.