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An egg hunt is a game during which decorated eggs or Easter eggs are hidden for children to find. Real hard-boiled eggs, which are typically dyed or painted, artificial eggs made of plastic filled with or chocolate candies, or foil-wrapped egg-shaped chocolates of various sizes are hidden in various places. The game is often played outdoors, but it can also be played indoors. The children typically collect the eggs in a basket. When the hunt is over, prizes may be given out for various achievements, such as the largest number of eggs collected, for the largest or smallest egg, for the most eggs of a specific color, consolation prizes or booby prizes. Real eggs may further be used in egg tapping contests. If eggs filled with confetti left from Mardi Gras (cascarones) are used, then an egg fight may follow. Eggs are placed with varying degree of concealment, to accommodate children of varying ages and development levels. In South German folk traditions it was customary to add extra obstacles to the game by placing them into hard-to reach places among nettles or thorns.
The egg was a symbol of the rebirth of the earth in pre-Christian celebrations of spring. However, the Easter egg itself was defined by early Christians as an Easter symbol of the resurrection of Jesus: the egg symbol was likened to the tomb from which Christ arose. Lizette Larson-Miller, a professor with the Graduate Theological Union of Berkeley, traces the specific custom of the Easter egg hunt to the Protestant Christian Reformer Martin Luther, stating "We know that Martin Luther had Easter egg hunts where the men hid the eggs for the women and children, and it probably has this connection back to this idea of eggs being the tomb." At least since the 17th century the idea of the Easter Bunny to bring the Easter eggs has been known. The novelty of the introduction of Easter egg hunts into England is evidenced by A. E. Housman's inaugural lecture as Professor of Latin at University College, London in 1892, in which he said, "In Germany at Easter time they hide coloured eggs about the house and garden that the children may amuse themselves in discovering them."
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