As Britons enjoy the Easter bank holiday, many will celebrate the festivities with copious amounts of chocolate.
Consuming as many chocolate eggs as possible has become the norm this time of year – but have you ever wondered where exactly this tradition comes from?
Here’s everything you need to know about the origins of the Easter egg.
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Why do we have Easter eggs?
People haven’t always devoured chocolate eggs at Easter.
In fact, eating normal eggs was not allowed by church leaders during Holy Week, which is the name given to the days leading up to Easter.
Instead, any eggs the hens laid were saved and decorated for the children as gifts.
This tradition is believed to have its roots in paganism. Eggs symbolize new life and often appeared in pagan festivals celebrating spring.
And for Christians, the egg symbolizes the moment in the Bible when Jesus was resurrected after his crucifixion.
As the tradition evolved over the centuries, chocolate versions of eggs became more popular as gifts for children than real eggs – for obvious reasons.
The first chocolate eggs appeared in France and Germany in the 19th century, but they were bitter and hard.
Yet, as chocolate making techniques began to improve, Cadbury produced the first modern chocolate Easter egg we enjoy today in 1875.
The chocolatier used pure cocoa butter that could be easily molded into a smooth shape.
Hollow chocolate Easter eggs quickly became popular, and they still remain a favorite Easter tradition with many people around the world.
Many people also give up chocolate for Lent, so indulging in chocolate eggs has become a common way to mark the end of the Christian fasting period.
What are the traditions of Easter eggs?
In addition to eating chocolate eggs, there are other egg-related Easter traditions that are synonymous with religious celebration.
Rolling hard-boiled eggs is a privileged activity, and for Christians it is a symbolic re-enactment of when the stone was rolled away from Christ’s tomb in the Bible.
Painting and decorating hard-boiled eggs is also a beloved tradition that children especially enjoy.
These two activities often go hand in hand, with children painting their eggs before finding a hill to roll them until they crack.
An Easter egg hunt is another popular tradition that many take part in during the Christian weekend.
Chocolate treats are hidden in the garden or house, ready to be found by family members – and the winner is the one who finds more than anyone else.
Where does the Easter Bunny come from?
The Easter Bunny is said to arrive at the weekend, hiding eggs for the children’s wake-up call on Easter Sunday.
There are many tales surrounding the origins of the Easter Bunny.
The first is that the rabbit comes from the ancient pagan festival of Eostre, which honored the goddess of fertility and spring.
It is believed that her animal symbol was a rabbit, which traditionally represents fertility.
Meanwhile, in America, some people believe the Easter Bunny was introduced in the 1700s by German immigrants to Pennsylvania.
Their laying hare, known as ‘Osterhase’ or ‘Oschter Haws’, was said to lay colored eggs as gifts to well-behaved children.
The Easter Bunny’s egg delivery then evolved over time to include treats such as toys and chocolate.
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This notice was published: 2022-04-16 23:00:00