Apart from Easter Eggs, the one thing that kids and the young-at-heart excite about Easter is the chocolate, especially the ones shaped like eggs. These are usually given as gifts to close friends and relatives, but do you have an idea how this practice started?
Although Easter is a Christian celebration commemorating how Jesus was resurrected from the dead, the traditions surrounding the holiday are pagan in origin. In fact, the name Easter itself comes from “Eastre” (or Eostre), the Saxon goddess of spring whose feast day falls during the spring equinox. Eastre’s earthly symbol was the rabbit, also known as the symbol of fertilifiy.
When the Saxons arrived in Britain during the 5thCentury, they brought along the celebration for Eastre as well. The holiday was practiced through fertility rituals that included eggs, chicks, and rabbits. Christianity eventually covered the land at around 7th and 8th Centuries and the Saxons began celebrating the death and resurrection of Jesus coincidentally with the traditional Eastre feasts. The pagan celebrations eventually toned down, but rituals for Eastre are still being practiced. For instance, eggs are used as symbolism for rebirth and have become the representation of Jesus’ resurrection.
The earliest Easter eggs were painted and decorated, which is still practiced today. Meanwhile, the first chocolate eggs appeared in Germany and France. The popularity of chocolate eggs for Easter eventually spread throughout Europe and the rest of the world.