Easter eggs: why are chocolate eggs connected to Christian celebration - and the history of the Easter egg

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Chocolate eggs have become an integral part of Easter celebrations in many parts of the world, particularly in Western culture, but the connection between chocolate eggs and the Christian celebration might not seem immediately obvious.

So why exactly have all things ovum become synonymous with the spring festival, and why exactly do we gorge on millions of pounds' worth of chocolate recreations of eggs every year?Here is everything you need to know about them.

Why are eggs associated with Easter?

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Easter, the principal festival of the Christian church year, commemorates the resurrection of Jesus Christ, a central event in Christian theology.

It is celebrated on the first Sunday following the full moon after the vernal equinox, typically falling between late March and late April. The origins of Easter can be traced back to early Christianity and its connections to Jewish Passover traditions.

(Photo: Pexels)(Photo: Pexels)
(Photo: Pexels)

The egg has long been a symbol of fertility, rebirth and new life in various cultures and religions predating Christianity. Ancient civilisations such as the Egyptians, Persians and Romans used eggs in their springtime celebrations as a representation of renewal and the cycle of life.

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In Christian symbolism, the egg came to represent the tomb from which Jesus emerged after his resurrection, signifying new life and the victory of life over death.

The practice of decorating eggs for Easter dates back centuries. Early Christians in Mesopotamia dyed eggs red to symbolise the blood of Christ shed on the cross.

In mediaeval Europe, eggs were often forbidden during the Lenten fast leading up to Easter Sunday, so they became a popular food item to consume again once Lent ended.

This tradition evolved into decorating eggs in vibrant colours and patterns, symbolising the joy and celebration of Easter.

Why do we eat chocolate eggs?

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The introduction of chocolate eggs into Easter traditions is a relatively modern development, emerging in the 19th century, and the Cadbury company is often credited with popularising the chocolate Easter egg, producing the first hollow chocolate egg in 1875.

The idea of chocolate eggs likely originated from the association between eggs and Easter, combined with the growing popularity of chocolate confectionery during the Victorian era.

Chocolate eggs quickly became a commercial success, appealing to both children and adults as a festive treat during the Easter season, and the tradition of giving chocolate eggs as gifts or using them in Easter egg hunts became widespread, further cementing their connection to the holiday.

Today, chocolate eggs come in various sizes, flavours and designs, ranging from simple solid eggs to elaborately decorated ones filled with sweets or other treats.

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