(RNS) Brightly colored eggs have been an important element inmany families' Easter traditions and celebrations for decades.In the PAAS line of egg dye alone, which is owned by SignatureBrands, LLC of Ocala, Fla., families can choose at least 10 differentways to design Easter eggs, including speckled, sparkling glitter oreven tie-dyed eggs.

But last year, PAAS also released a more religious kit.According to the company, the PAAS Easter Celebration Kit "capturesthe true spirit of Easter through traditional images."

During March and April grocery stores and supermarkets sell morethan 600 million eggs nationwide. PAAS, which has been producing Easteregg dye for 120 years, estimates its kits help families decorate about180 million eggs a year.

"One hundred and twenty years is a milestone and we wanted tocelebrate it," said Pat Reddish, director of human resources atSignature Brands. "The ingredients of the special Easter Celebration Kitcame out of a brainstorming session as to what's the spirit of Easterand what does Easter mean to you?"

The kit includes angel cut-outs, images to wrap around eggs likestained glass and a cross, and egg stickers depicting the Bible, prayinghands, lilies and a dove. "We certainly know that to some people Easter is the ultimate religious holiday of the year and to others it's about chocolatebunnies," said Reddish. "This was just an attempt to come out with a newkit that would address the family that's looking to have religiousimages for their children at Easter time."

The company's Easter Angels egg decorating kit, released in 1997,was one of PAAS' best sellers.

For evangelist and author Steve Russo, the whole issue of eggs andEaster marketing is a problem on which he's trying to put a positivespin. Russo, host of the nationally syndicated radio program "RealAnswers" and an associate evangelist with the Billy Graham organization,recently wrote the book "Why Celebrate Easter."

The book was partly a response to an increase in Easter marketingand sermons Russo had heard on past Easter Sundays that focused more onissues like the stock market than on the Easter message of resurrection.

"Unfortunately, even in the church today, Easter is not what itshould be," Russo said. "In our desire to be seeker-sensitive we'vebecome seeker-driven, so we've watered down the message of the cross andthe resurrection," he said.

On one hand he looks at religious-themed egg kits and cringes."Their motivation is obviously marketing and money," he said, notingsome Christians are adopting a purist attitude and rejecting eggs andbunnies altogether. But his family chooses to decorate eggs and have fun doing it together. So he also believes a religious-oriented egg kit can offer afamily an opportunity to talk about the Easter message while theydecorate.

"It is contributing to the problem and it is a little bit hokey," hesaid, "but we can take this and make it a positive thing."