One of the items on the Jewish Seder Plate, used during the celebration of Passover, is a בֵּיצָה (beytzah), an “egg.” Of course, many people associate eggs with Easter. But what what is an egg (so deeply connected with modern popular celebrations of Easter) doing on the Jewish Passover plate? We all have heard that eggs are associated with springtime, fertility, new life, etc. But what does any of this have to do with Passover (aside from the fact that it occurs in Spring)? The answer lies in the other name used for the egg in the Passover celebration, the חֲגִיגָה (chagigah).
Translating from Hebrew, חֲגִיגָה (chagigah) literally means “festivity” or “celebration”. Besides this general description, חֲגִיגָה is a special term used to describe the special festival offering. In the Bible, the Passover offering was called פֶּסַח (pesach). Early rabbis created used the term חֲגִיגָה (chagigah) for a special “festival offering.” This term originates from the Hebrew word חַג (chag) which means, “a festival” or “celebration.” Even today, when wishing someone a “happy holiday” in Hebrew, people say, חַג שָׂמֵחַ (chag sameach).
In the Passover celebration, the egg has nothing to do with springtime, new life, or fertility. It is a visual representation of another festival offering, distinct from the Passover sacrifice represented by זְרוֹעַ (zeroah), the lamb shank bone also found on the Passover plate. To use another bone would have been confusing, so instead the rabbis used a בֵּיצָה (beytzah), an egg roasted with fire as the symbol of this special festival offering.