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The origins of the Easter Bunny, Chocolate Easter Eggs and lots more…

Posted on 7th April 2014
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The origins of the Easter Bunny, Chocolate Easter Eggs and lots more…

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The majority of our most popular Easter traditions have their roots set way back in history. For example, the concept of the Easter Bunny is not a modern convention and its origins can be found as far back as ancient Anglo-Saxon times. And around Easter times there are plenty of other interesting facts about the popular symbols and activities that might interest you:
 
The Easter Bunny
In Anglo-Saxon times, the hare was an important symbol of fertility and it played a major role in the pagan festival of Eostre which was named after the Saxon goddess of spring. Legend claims that this mystical goddess found a wounded bird and turned it into a hare so it would have more chance to survive the cold of winter. In the spring, when this hare found it could lay eggs it made a gift of its eggs to the goddess who had protected him. And so the tradition of the Easter hare and its latter day iteration, the bunny was created.
 
Today, many families and groups use the Easter Bunny to bring joy and cheer to their egg hunts or other activities. There are many aster Bunny costumes available for all ages ranging from cute bunny fancy dress for babies and children all the way up to deluxe mascot rabbit outfits.
 
Chocolate Easter eggs 
Eggs have long been associated with the rebirth of spring and as important fertility symbols. And against this background, the rebirth of new life, early Christians used them as a visual symbol of the resurrection of Jesus. These first gifts saw people start giving birds eggs as offerings and gifts at Easter time. These were painted in bright colours to echo the colours of spring coming through from the darkness of winter.
For Europeans, these gifts celebrating Easter took the form of domesticated duck, hen or goose eggs. Later these were replaced by artificial eggs until with the eventual wider availability of chocolate as a more widely available treat the first chocolate eggs began to appear as far back as the early 1800s. Exchanging chocolate eggs at Easter quickly spread right across the globe so that by the end of the century chocolate eggs became the most popular and accepted Easter offering.
 
Coloured eggs
Today chocolate eggs are the most popular gift of choice at Easter, although in the past coloured and decorated eggs have also been used as a symbol and gift shared at Easter. The tradition of colouring and decorating eggs comes from way back and can be traced back to the Middle Ages when brightly coloured eggs would welcome in the new spring. Seen as a fun activity, the tradition continues although it has taken on some national differences. Germans have a tradition of painting eggs green and they eat them on Maundy Thursday, whilst in Greece and the Balkans, eggs are dyed red to symbolising the Christ’s blood.
 
To date, the most elaborately decorated eggs were commissioned during the late 1800s and early 1900s by the Russian aristocracy who commissioned the French jewellery maker Faberge to create exquisite eggs fashioned from enamel and encrusted with the most dazzling jewels. Sought after by buyers all around the world, these ‘ultimate’ Easter gifts are worth millions of pounds today and definitely will not be found on your local supermarket shelf.
 
Egg rolling
The exact significance on the tradition of egg rolling, which usually takes place on Easter Monday, is unsure. Some historians believe that it dates back to Anglo-Saxon times in Germany and although they are unsure of the exact significance of the rolling of eggs, it's generally believed that for these early pagans it was seen as a way of bringing new life to the land at springtime. For early Christians, egg rolling could have been seen as a representation of the stone being rolled away from Jesus' tomb.
 
Hot cross buns
This scrumptious tradition of eating hot cross buns on Good Friday has its roots even further back than early Christianity. Again the exact meaning is subject to conjecture, Saxons ate buns marked with a cross during their spring celebrations and it's believed that the bun represented the moon and the cross the moon's quarters. With the spread of Christianity, the tradition was continued but with the meaning of the cross being used to symbolise Jesus' crucifixion.
 
Simnel cake
The special fruit cake eaten at Easter, known as Simnel cake, is steeped in traditional symbolism. Traditionally the cake has a layer of marzipan on top and is decorated with 11 marzipan balls, symbolizing each of the disciples, with the exception of Judas who is deliberately left out.
 
 
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