Where Did Easter Eggs Originate? – Eg Pk News (Spring 2017)

Easter has a much older set of religious traditions than many of the Victorian Christmas traditions that we have come to know and love.   The custom of the Easter Egg as a gift can be traced to early Christians of Mesopotamia (now Iraq & Syria), and from there spread into Russia and Siberia through the Orthodox Churches, and later into Europe through the Catholic and Protestant Churches.   Eggs, in general, were a traditional Christian symbol of fertility and rebirth but they came to symbolise the empty tomb of Jesus after his resurrection, hence their connection with Easter.   The oldest tradition was to use dyed and painted chicken eggs (often red to symbolise the “blood of Christ”).   In the 17th and 18th centuries the idea of the egg-shaped toy emerged and these were given to children at Easter often filled with sweets.   Not surprisingly the chocolatiers began to exploit this tradition and the first chocolate egg in the UK is attributed to JS Fry of Bristol in 1873, shortly followed by John Cadbury who made a “Plush” Easter Egg in 1875 which cost 3 shillings and sixpence.

The origin of the Easter Bunny and Easter Egg Hunts are more difficult to establish but one theory we heard was that an egg hunt is a simple way of proving to your children that they can indeed find anything they look for if they really want to!   Let’s hope we all find what we are looking for this Easter whether it is a huge Easter Egg, a relaxing time with family, better health, new flowers and growth in our waterlogged gardens, warmer weather or a smooth Brexit!   One reassuring thing is that a holiday that starts with a “Good Friday” is probably going to be a great weekend – let’s hope so.

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