At this time of year, it’s impossible to walk into a supermarket without being confronted by aisles full of chocolate Easter eggs. From tiny milk chocolate Easter eggs, all the way to large decadent dark chocolate eggs accompanied by melt-in-your-mouth truffles – hard to resist these delectable treats, even when you’re trying to be healthy.
But just where did chocolate eggs come from? And why are they associated with Easter? The puzzle has been solved – how egg-cellent!
Welcoming the Spring
It may surprise you, but the idea of Easter – in one form or another – has been around since the Medieval period. There’s references to Easter eggs in Anglo-Saxon culture, Persian society, and Pagan rituals.
Eggs have long been associated with spring, symbolising the transition from winter to summer. Anglo-Saxons celebrated the reawakening of nature, fertility and the goddess of spring (called Eostre), by burying eggs. Persians, on the other hand, displayed decorated eggs on Iranian New Year (known as Nowruz). While Pagans viewed celebrated the Sun God, representing new life – it’s believed Christianity absorbed this custom and the egg became a symbol of the resurrection.
It wasn’t until centuries later that eggs began being given as gifts and looked more like the Easter eggs that we’d recognise today.
As far back as 13th century England, people gave eggs as gifts to the church on Good Friday. Fast forward a few centuries and dyed eggs were frequently given as presents.
There were also more extravagant egg offerings. During Henry VIII’s reign, he was gifted a silver encased egg from the Vatican. While in the 19th century, Carl Fabergé designed his famous Fabergé eggs for the Russian Czar.
It wasn’t until the 17th and 18th centuries that the modern idea of the Easter egg arose. Crafted as toys and bought by the wealthy, eggs were filled with treats were gifted. But it was the Victorians who truly cemented the idea – those clever Victorians! They would fill an egg-shaped object with chocolates, paving the way for chocolate Easter eggs.
Delicious Chocolate Eggs
The very first chocolate Easter eggs were made in Germany in the early 18th century and became popular throughout Europe, spreading to France and the UK. Then, as family-time and traditions became more important, the Victorians embraced the chocolate egg, gifting them to children.
It wasn’t until after WWII and the end of rationing that chocolate Easter eggs really egg-sploded, and the market became saturated, creating the Easter tradition we all know and love, with brands like Thorntons producing millions of eggs every year.
And there you have it! Enjoy your delicious Easter treats!