May 7, 2021

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Easter 2021: Date, history, importance and meaning of eggs

Easter is a Christian festival celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

The holiday falls on April 4 this year and will be celebrated across the globe. 

But why do we eat chocolate at Easter?

And what does it have to do with the Easter bunny? Here is everything you need to know…

History

The story behind Easter lies in the New Testament of the Bible which narrates how Jesus was arrested by the Roman authorities because he claimed to be the “Son of God”.

He was then sentenced to death by Pontius Pilate, the Roman emperor by crucifixion.

His resurrection three days later marks the occasion of Easter.

This day is also closely associated with the Jewish festival of Passover.

Why do we have Easter eggs?

Originally eating eggs was not allowed by church leaders during the week leading up to Easter (known as Holy Week).

So any eggs laid that week were saved and decorated to make them Holy Week eggs, that were then given to children as gifts.

Victorians adapted the tradition with satin-covered cardboard eggs filled with Easter gifts.

This has now developed into the tradition that many people enjoy today.

Easter Sunday falls on a different date every year

 

The first chocolate eggs appeared in France and Germany in the 19th Century, but they were bitter and hard.

As chocolate-making techniques improved, hollow eggs like the ones we have today were developed.

They very quickly became popular and remain a favourite tradition with chocolate-lovers today.

A lot of people also give up chocolate for lent, so indulging in some chocolate eggs became a common way to mark the end of the Christian fasting period.

Why do we have the Easter bunny?

There are several theories about how the Easter bunny came about.

One is that the rabbit comes from the ancient pagan festival of Eostre, which honoured the goddess of fertility and spring.

Her animal symbol is believed to have been a rabbit, which traditionally represents fertility.

The Argus: In England, the Easter break starts on Thursday, April 1In England, the Easter break starts on Thursday, April 1

Meanwhile, in America, some people believe that the Easter bunny was introduced in the 1700s by German immigrants in Pennsylvania.

Their egg-laying hare, known as “Osterhase” or “Oschter Haws”, was said to lay colorful eggs as gifts to children who behaved well.

The Easter bunny’s egg delivery then evolved over time to include treats such as toys and chocolate.