What springs to mind when you think of Easter? Probably easter egg hunts, the easter bunny and lots of chocolate, but how did all of this come about? Well to celebrate this easter weekend, we thought to we’d investigate and let you know.
So let’s start with the holiday’s namesake. The etymology of the word ‘Easter’ is said to come from Eostre, the Germanic goddess of spring and fertility. According to old folktales, Eostre apparently discovered a bird dying from the cold and transformed it into a rabbit instead so its new fur would keep it warm. This, along with rabbits been known to be prolific procreators, symbolises fertility and new life. Two themes that are intrinsically linked with the easter celebration.
The bunny became synonymous with Easter as a symbol of fertility and new life.
The symbolization of eggs runs a little deeper though.
The egg is seen as an early symbol of new life and is commonly associated with pagan festivals celebrating spring. Decorating eggs is a custom that goes back to around the 13th century as they were deemed a forbidden food during the lenten season. Thus people would decorate and prepare them to be eaten in celebration at the end of fasting. This tradition still bears fruit today, with egg rolling and hunting being common ways people honour easter. A famous example of egg rolling is the Washington Easter Egg Roll, dating back to 1872. It’s since grown into an annual event on the lawns of The White House and includes the children and grandchildren of the American President taking part.
So where did chocolate eggs come from? Well, In the 17th and 18th centuries the idea of an egg-shaped toy emerged. These were made, sold and given to children at Easter. The eggs were often filled with sweets. The first chocolate Easter eggs were likely crafted in Germany and France near the beginning of the 19th century. As moulding methods improved, the first chocolate egg in the UK was created by JS Fry in 1873 and only two years later, Cadbury would begin moulding their own hollow chocolate eggs. Others soon followed suit and eventually, the Easter egg market bloomed beyond all expectations. As time developed, this custom spread to America and throughout many the world.
Whatever you plan on indulging in this easter, whenever it be sharing decorated Easter eggs or playing Easter egg hunts all of these age old customs are still so joyous today, and everyone at Bond hopes you enjoy this wonderfully long easter weekend!