10 funny, interesting and simply ridiculous facts about Easter
by Kelly Wallace Horne
Easter means many different things to many people, according to a person’s origin, faith, creed and (in my case) a love of chocolate (OK, OK! I’m not afraid to admit it!)
Right, let’s get the serious bit out of the way first – have you ever wondered why, unlike Christmas, the date for Easter changes every year? Well, the fact is, in Christianity, it is known to be the Sunday that marks the end of the Holy Week, an event that commemorates the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and this is what dictates when Easter is each year according to when the full moon falls in relation to other events in the Christian calendar. BUT! Easter is NOT just about Christianity, there is much more to it than that! So, whatever your beliefs, to celebrate here are 10 interesting, funny and simply ridiculous facts about Easter…
1. Where did the name “Easter” come from?
The name Easter owes its origin from Eastre, the Anglo-Saxon goddess who symbolizes hare and egg. Eastre is often spelt Eostre, Oestre or Ostara. Ostara is also a northern European name for Astarte, which means “womb”, and is another name for Venus, the goddess of love, passion, and creativity.
2. Why do we paint and decorate eggs for Easter?
The art of painting and decorating eggs is known as “Pysanka”. The brightly coloured eggs are symbolic of spring flowers and the new beginnings previously mentioned. It is said that King Edward I of England may also have contributed to the tradition of decorating eggs to celebrate Easter. In the 13th century, Edward I ordered 450 eggs to be coloured and decorated with gold-leaf. They were presented as Easter gifts to the rest of the royal household. In Christianity, Easter Eggs are coloured red to symbolise the blood of Jesus. Originally, egg dyes were made out of natural items such as onion peels, tree bark, flower petals, and juices.
3. Why do we give each other eggs at Easter?
The exchange of eggs for Easter dates back to a springtime custom older than Easter itself! Eggs were given as a symbol of fertility and rebirth (remember in point 1 that Eastre/Ostara means “womb”?). This can be traced back to the Egyptians, Persians, Gauls, Greeks and the Romans. In Christianity, for the celebration of “Eastertide”, the egg represents the empty tomb of Jesus, from which Jesus was resurrected. In a nutshell, (or in this case, eggshell) we give each other eggs as a symbol of joy, rebirth/new life, and new beginnings – basically all things positive, optimistic and happy.
4. Why is there an Easter Bunny? What do bunnies have to do with eggs? Or Easter?
The Easter Bunny originates from paintings of the Anglo Saxon Goddess Eastre, who was always depicted holding a hare – take a look back at the picture at point 1! Originally it was the Easter Hare, but this has evolved to be the Easter Bunny, I can only presume because, on the whole, bunnies are a little bit cuter than hares and are more appealing to children?! (Ever found a baby hare, or leveret, in the horses’ fields? They are cute!)
5. When were the first chocolate Easter Eggs made?
Chocolate eggs are said to have originated in France and Germany in the early 19th century but here in the UK it was J. S. Fry & Sons Limited who produced the first chocolate egg in 1873. John Cadbury made his first ‘French eating Chocolate’ in 1842 but it was not until 1875 that the first Cadbury Easter Eggs were made.
6. What is the biggest Easter Egg in the world?
The tallest chocolate Easter egg ever entered the Guinness Book of Records in 2011. It was made in Italy and was a whopping 10.39 metres in height and 7,200 kg in weight. When it was measured at Le Acciaierie Shopping Centre, in Cortenuova, Italy, it was taller than a giraffe and heavier than an elephant!
I wonder what the surprise inside it was? A hundred-weight of jelly beans? A small car?
7. What is the most expensive Easter Egg ever made?
In 2007, an egg covered in diamonds sold for almost £9 million.
Described as looking like a cross between a Faberge egg and a Damien Hirst skull, the egg is very special because, every hour, a cockerel made of jewels pops up from the top of the egg, flaps its wings four times, nods its head three times and makes a crowing noise!
Sorry friends, but it’s a Smarties egg this year. Again.
8. Eggs for Breakfast?
Every child* in the UK receives an average of 8.8 Easter eggs every year – at least double their recommended calorie intake for a whole week.
*loosely speaking (Hey, you’re as young as you feel. Plus, Easter is an exception. And Christmas. And birthdays. And….
9. Sharing isn’t caring when it comes to Easter chocolate
Whilst us animal-lovers share the greater part of our lives with our fur friends and family we really mustn’t share our Easter treats with them. Chocolate contains a chemical called ‘Theobromine’ which is toxic to dogs, cats and horses. Giving animals chocolate intended for humans really is like giving them a poisonous substance and, in some cases, the results can be fatal. It’s better to buy your pets an Easter treat with a recipe that has been devised for them by specialists, and keep your Easter chocolate all to yourself!
10. How do you eat yours?
Studies show that 76% of people eat the ears on chocolate bunnies first, 5% eat the feet first and 4% eat the tail first. 0.1% leave it complete because they simply can’t dismember an actual animal. Or is that just me?
We absolutely love this video of Mark Nelson’s daughter asking is the Easter Bunny and Jesus best pals! (Buttons are my favourite, too!)