Why do we eat chocolate eggs at Easter and what is the origin of the Easter bunny?

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Easter might look slightly different than usual this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

But one thing that doesn’t need to change is chocolate – the rule of six can’t stop you chomping down on your favourite Easter chocolate.

This time of year the supermarkets fill up with yummy Easter treats – and a lot of it is chocolate-based.

So why do we eat chocolate at Easter? And what does it all have to do with the Easter bunny? Here is everything you need to know.

Why do we eat chocolate eggs at Easter?

According to Christianity, Jesus was crucified on Good Friday, and rose again on Easter Sunday – which is why we celebrate Easter.

Eggs are a symbol of rebirth

So what does this have to do with chocolate, you might ask?

The tradition of giving eggs (real ones) is thought to be a Pagan tradition.

Eggs symbolise new life, and often appeared in pagan festivals celebrating spring.

For Christians, the egg symbolises the moment in the Bible when Jesus is resurrected after his crucifixion.

As the years went on, chocolate versions of eggs became popular as gifts for children – rather than real ones.

Chocolate Easter eggs first appeared in Europe in the 19th century and Cadbury produced the modern Easter egg we know today in 1875.

Why do we have the Easter bunny?

Easter bunny
The fabled Easter bunny delivers Easter eggs

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

One theory is based on pagan tradition, more specifically the festival of Eostre, who was the goddess of fertility.

Her symbol was the bunny – because rabbits are known for their energetic breeding.

The earliest evidence of a more modern Easter bunny is in the 1600s, when it was mentioned in German writings as “Oschter Haws”, or Easter hare.

According to legend, the Easter hare laid a colourful nest of eggs for children who were good.

Children would make nests for the bunny to leave eggs.

Eventually the tradition became widespread across the world, and the fabled bunny starting delivering other things too – such as chocolate and toys.

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