At this time of year, we are often asked why we celebrate Easter by giving and eating chocolate eggs so we thought we would re-post our little explanation from last year which hopefully explains all!
Is eating eggs at Easter a new invention? Or something which has been passed down through the ages? Well it’s a bit of both to be honest!
The celebration of Easter itself dates back to a pagan figure called Eastre – the Goddess of Spring – and was originally begun by the Saxons of Northern Europe.
But Easter is most commonly associated as a Christian tradition used to celebrate the resurrection of Christ. Eggs have always been used to symbolise themes such as rebirth and fertility, and originally eating eggs linked to Lent – the six-week period where Christians would abstain from eating all animal products. Throughout the Lent period chickens would still lay eggs, which would then be hard boiled, decorated and saved for Easter.
Chocolate eggs date back to the early 19th Century, first appearing in France and Germany and later gaining popularity through the rest of Europe. Frys created the first chocolate egg in 1873 – made from bitter dark chocolate with a grainy texture. Not very appetising! Hollow eggs began to appear in the late 19th Century but this method of producing chocolate wasn’t established worldwide until food manufacturing really took off in the 1960’s.
Easter traditions are still widely recognised in many countries throughout Europe, and the celebrations have extended worldwide, particularly as the first German immigrants started to move across to America.
The celebration of Easter is now hugely significant for all of us in the chocolate market with now more than 80 million chocolate eggs sold every year in the UK alone. Just shows that we all love an egg – especially when it’s a chocolate one!