Eastory of Chocolate

Origins of Easter

Easter is a Christian holiday that celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The resurrection was observed on the first Sunday following the full moon after the vernal equinox. The vernal equinox marks the beginning of spring in the northern hemisphere. The exact origins of Easter are complex and involve a combination of Christian and Pagan traditions.

Pagan Influences

Easter’s timing aligns with ancient spring celebrations, intertwining with pagan customs and symbols associated with fertility and renewal. Across various cultures, spring festivals marked the rejuvenation of life, featuring symbols like eggs and rabbits to denote fertility. The tradition of exchanging eggs during these festivities dates back to ancient civilizations like the Egyptians, Persians, and Romans.

Christian Adaptation

Early Christians adapted the tradition of eggs as a symbol of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Eggs were dyed red to represent the blood of Christ and the joy of his resurrection. The practice of decorating eggs for Easter became widespread in medieval Europe and was modernized with the addition of pastel colors in the following generations.

Introduction of Chocolate

The tradition of giving chocolate eggs at Easter emerged in the 19th century with the development of solid chocolate. Before this, eggs were often made with sugar or pastry. The first chocolate Easter eggs were made in Europe in the early 19th century but were expensive due to the high demand for cocoa, the lack of advanced technology and the overall intense process of making chocolate. One of the pioneers of chocolate Easter eggs was the Cadbury company. In 1875, Cadbury introduced its first Easter eggs in the UK. These early eggs were made with dark chocolate and filled with sugared almonds.

Spread of Celebrations

Easter became a widely celebrated holiday across different cultures and regions, with variations in customs and observances over time. Chocolate Easter eggs became increasingly popular and were produced in a variety of sizes, shapes, and flavours. Today, Easter is a major commercial holiday for the chocolate industry, with companies around the world producing a wide range of Easter-themed chocolates.

Continued Traditions

Despite the commercialization of Easter, many families continue to follow  traditional customs such as decorating eggs and giving chocolate eggs as gifts. Other Easter traditions include church services, family gatherings, and community events like parades and egg hunts. With Easter coming soon on March 31st, 2024, enjoy your celebrations while knowing a little more about Easter. Happy holiday!

Sources: 

Blakemore, E. (2022). A Brief History of Easter. Retrieved from https://www.nationalgeographic.com/history/article/brief-history-easter-biblical-origins-egg-hunts 

Cadbury. (n.d.). Our Story. Retrieved from https://www.cadbury.co.uk/our-story 

Candy Funhouse CA. (2020). Why Do People Eat Chocolate At Easter Retrieved from https://candyfunhouse.ca/blogs/around-the-funhouse/why-do-people-eat-chocolate-at-easter-1 

Cox, H. (2013). *The History of Chocolate*. Thames & Hudson book

Grivetti, L. E., & Shapiro, H. Y. (2009). *Chocolate: History, Culture, and Heritage*. John Wiley & Sons book

Morton, M. (2002). *Chocolate: An Illustrated History*. Flammarion book

By Ash Michaud

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