Five years ago, in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, I wanted to dye Easter eggs with my kids. It was a couple days before the holiday. I had the food coloring and the vinegar, but I needed eggs. Eggs in Tajikistan come in a spectrum of shades from deep brown to white, and no one worries much about what color their eggs are. In Dushanbe, food comes from the bazaar, so I headed off to market.
I started with the elderly grandmother whole sold homegrown eggs out on the egg of the bazaar and worked my way inward to the commercial egg stores toward the middle. Brown eggs, everywhere. Light brown, reddish brown, dark brown. Not a white egg to be found. At my third egg store, when I mustered up my rusty language skills to ask about white eggs, I got this answer, “Sorry, Christians bought up all the white eggs for some kind of annual ritual. I think it’s an important holiday for them.”