Easter is a festival celebrated by christians worldwide in the honor of the resurrection of Jesus Christ after his death. However, this is the present day practise, it is believed since christianity had grown and spread throughout the world, it adapted some ancient pagan customs considering many devotees added their own variation to the faith, one of which is the easter festival – celebration of spring.
The Easter Egg primarily a new beginning or a fresh start, a rebirth so to say. The Egyptian mythology has it’s phoenix story of a bird that burns itself and leaves an egg behind only to be reborn from the very same egg. And the Hindus believe that the universe itself was born from an egg.
As the egg symbolizes rebirth or fertility, the church adapted this symbology to the resurrection of christ and now it has come to represent the current form of easter worship.
Many are unaware that it was forbidden to eat eggs in the weeks leading up to Easter. Eggs that were laid during this week by hens were considered holy and later decorated or painted and given out to kids as gifts. So the first easter eggs weren’t chocolate but actual eggs.
Later on as civilization evolved and grew, Victorians created satin covered cardboard eggs which contained gifts. And then finally chocolate easter eggs were first made in early 19th century in Europe, with France and Germany taking the lead in new artistic confectionery.
However, these weren’t soft creme filled eggs, there were hard chocolate eggs as the technique for mass producing moulded chocolate had not been invented.
The first ‘French eating Chocolate’ was made by John Cadbury in 1842 but it was not until 1875 that the first Cadbury Easter Eggs were made. Progress in the chocolate Easter egg market was slow until a method was discovered for making the chocolate flow into the moulds.
The modern chocolate Easter egg owes its progression to the two greatest developments in the history of chocolate – the Dutch invention of a press for separating cocoa butter from the cocoa bean in 1828 and the introduction of a pure cocoa by Cadbury Brothers in 1866. The Cadbury process made large quantities of cocoa butter available and this was the secret of making moulded chocolate or indeed, any fine eating chocolate.
And since then, chocolate egg making has become part of tradition. Now you may be wondering where does the bunny come in all of this?Hares or Rabbits are believed to also symbolize fertility, so they became co-related with each other as a symbol of rebirth and fertility.
Early German immigrants in the Pennsylvania Dutch region told their children of the “osterhase” or the Easter hare who would bring lucky eggs to good children.
And since then the folklore has caught on and stayed the same ever since.