Sunday, 4 April 2010

Easter, the egg or the chocolate ?

Which came first – Easter, the egg or the chocolate ?
The egg has long been a symbol of renewal and rebirth. Though the feast is a moveable one it falls in the springtime season when baby animals such as lambs, bunnies and chickens are foremost in our minds and the buds plant life are showing that re-growth is all around us.
Easter is a Christian celebration but has been adapted from pagan traditions. Symbols of rebirth, and traditional religious sacrifice coming from the Norsemen’s, Eastar, Ostara, and Ostar, and the pagan goddess Eostre, all involving the time of the growing sun and new birth.
Ancient Egyptians, Persians, Phoenicians and Hindus all believed the world began with an enormous egg, so the egg as a symbol of new life has been around for centuries. The Easter Bunny arose originally as a symbol of fertility, due to the rapid reproduction of rabbits.
But what of the chocolate ?
Painted and decorated eggs have been given as gifts during this festival by all cultures and races but the first chocolate egg didn’t appear until the early 1800’s in Germany and France. In UK the first chocolate egg was produced by (strangely enough) a company called Fry (now owned by Cadbury) Dark chocolate eggs filled with sweets soon evolved into milk chocolate ones and since the 1960’s have been the favourite treat or gift for Easter.

I am not a “chocolate person”. I like a piece now and then but can’t imagine myself having to resist the temptation to eat mounds of it – as I have discussed with self confessed “chocoholics”. Anyway, no one appears to have bought me a chocolate egg this year – I have decorated wooden ones instead, which are much prettier … and last a lot longer.

Whatever your taste, religion or reason for celebrating – have a Happy and peaceful Easter.