In our latest blog we take a look in to the reasons and history of why we actually eat chocolate eggs at Easter.
We’ve become very used to seeing eggs around Easter time, and also consuming, decorating and otherwise incorporating them into the festivities. Easter is a celebration of rebirth, in the Christian sense this relates to the miraculous resurrection of Jesus before his ascension back to heaven from whence he came – but older, more mythical traditions have also marked this time of year as being significant.
The spring equinox was always celebrated in earlier times in the British Isles in the time before Christianity. This equinox marks the day the sun shines directly on the equator and the length of day and night is nearly equal – but not totally.
Early civilisations and tribes knew the lengths of the days and the times of year using calendars, but not paper ones. Stonehenge and other pagan stone circles, as well as monuments from across the world, are all know to have been used to measure the time of year based on the position of the sun, and as such, the spring equinox, or vernal equinox, would have been noted and celebrated because of the returning of the sun.
The egg symbology is related to Jesus for sure, with deeper meaning for the more devoted adherents of the religion – the egg’s shell representing the tomb within which the son of God was buried, and the breaking of the shell represents resurrection. In the eastern orthodox churches the eggs are dyed red to represent the blood of Jesus shed on the cross. Even the egg rolling tradition has roots in religion – the rolling of the egg representing the rolling of the great stone that sealed the tomb of Christ.
In the 1870’s the first chocolate eggs started appearing, mainly in Britain, starting with the chocolatier J. S. Fry & Sons, Ltd. This company was merged into Cadbury in 1919, and by then the tradition had taken hold in the United Kingdom – where nearly 80 million chocolate eggs are sold on Easter every year.
Again as with Christmas, a continuation of ancient pagan rituals involving the sun has been put through the test of time, and has come out in a very contemporary recognisable form. The sun is on the way back, and with British Summer Time now in effect the days are longer. Spring is here, despite the repeated attempts by the weather to snow us under, we hope you had a Happy Easter, and come next year you’ll know why we are all consuming chocolate eggs as part of the celebrations.