The History of Easter Eggs
With Easter upon us, thoughts turn to chocolate eggs, hot cross buns and tales of the Easter bunny.
The earliest Easter eggs were hen or duck eggs decorated at home in bright colours with vegetable dye and charcoal. Orthodox Christians and many cultures continue to dye Easter eggs, often decorating them with flowers.
The 17th and 18th centuries saw the manufacture of egg-shaped toys, which were given to children at Easter. The Victorians had cardboard, ‘plush’ and satin covered eggs filled with Easter gifts and chocolates. The ultimate egg-shaped Easter gifts must have been the fabulous jewelled creations of Carl Fabergé made during the 19th century for the Russian Czar and Czarina, now precious museum pieces.
Chocolate Easter eggs were first made in Europe in the early 19th century, with France and Germany taking the lead in this new artistic confectionery. Some early eggs were solid, as the technique for mass-producing moulded chocolate had not been devised. The production of the first hollow chocolate eggs must have been painstaking, as the moulds were lined with paste chocolate one at a time.
Top Easter Facts
The first chocolate egg in the UK was produced in 1873 by Fry’s of Bristol on Easter Sunday, some people traditionally roll painted eggs down steep hillsThe gesture of giving eggs at Easter has been traced back to Egyptians, Persians, Gauls, Greeks and Romans. Back then the egg was a symbol of lifeWhen tucking into a chocolate bunny rabbit, 76 per cent of people bite the ears off first.
Where does the Easter bunny come from?
We can thank the Germans for the Easter bunny. Originally an ‘Easter hare’, a buck-toothed bringer of chocolate to the kids that have behaved themselves was first mentioned in German literature in 1682. The tradition stuck, and has led to the Easter bunnies you see on the shelves today as well as the expectation for a delivery of Easter eggs on the day.