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Chocolate and Easter

Why are chocolates, bunnies, eggs and candy associated with Easter, a religious holiday? Long ago, pagans had many springtime rituals and symbols which became absorbed into the Easter celebration.

Eggs are associated with new life, and Christianity has tied them to Jesus' resurrection and emergence from the tomb. Eggs were also a forbidden food during Lent, so people would color them in festive colors and save them to eat during the Easter feast. Jellybeans, with their oval egg shape came onto the scene in the 1930's, and other candies soon jumped on the bandwagon. Chocolate makers started making chocolate filled eggs, and chocolate bunnies, another ancient, pagan symbol of new life.

It is believed that the Easter Bunny came over with German immigrants in the 1700's, who had a tradition of an egg-laying bunny called the "Osterhare". Kids would make nests for the hare's eggs, which eventually morphed into the Easter Basket.

Today we have pulled bits and pieces from may ancient traditions and rites and combined them all into the Easter feast. Enjoy your chocolate bunnies and Easter eggs, and know that you are participating in a rite centuries old.

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