Why do we eat chocolate eggs at Easter?

As you tuck into your tasty chocolate eggs this Easter, you may wonder what significance they have on this most important of Christian holidays.

Though chocolate eggs are a very modern custom, decorating eggs actually predates Christianity with some of the earliest examples being engraved ostrich eggs found in Africa dating from 60,000 years ago.

However, the Catholic custom could well have pagan origins. In Christianity, the egg symbolises the rebirth of Jesus but they have long had this significance in pagan festivals and spring celebrations.

When Easter was first celebrated, Christians adopted the egg symbol with the broken shell of the egg compared to the opening of Jesus’ tomb during his resurrection. This, in turn, symbolises the rebirth of mankind.

The tradition may also have been developed for practical reason, as it was customary for Christians to abstain from eating eggs during lent. Since eggs are easier than many foods to preserve without refrigeration, they were often eaten to break the fast on Easter Sunday
So just when and where did Easter eggs turn chocolate? They first appeared in France and Germany in the 19th century. However, it was the famous John Cadbury right here in England who helped propel the chocolate egg into the mainstream in 1875.

Cadbury’s first eggs were made out of dark chocolate but milk chocolate incarnations were loaunched in 1905 and soon became bestsellers.

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