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Why do we eat eggs at Easter?

Why do we eat eggs at Easter?

Originally eating eggs was not allowed by the Church during the week leading up to Easter (known as Holy Week), so any eggs laid that week were saved and decorated to make them 'Holy Week eggs', then given to children as gifts.

Victorians adapted the tradition with satin covered cardboard eggs filled with Easter gifts.

Where did chocolate eggs come from?

The first chocolate eggs appeared in France and Germany in the 19th century but were bitter and hard;  as chocolate-making techniques improved, hollow eggs like the ones we have today were developed.  They very quickly became popular and remain so today.

So what about the Easter Bunny?

An Anglo-Saxon legend tells how the Saxon goddess Eostre found a wounded bird and transformed it into a hare, so that it could survive the Winter. The hare found it could lay eggs, so it decorated these each Spring and left them as offering to the goddess.

Why do we decorate eggs?

Decorating and colouring eggs for Easter was a common custom in England in the middle ages. Eggs were brightly coloured to mimic the new, fresh colours of spring. The practice of decorating eggs was made even more famous by King Edward I of England who ordered 450 eggs to be gold-leafed and coloured for Easter gifts in 1290.

Egg Games:

Egg Rolling is very popular in England and is an Easter Monday sport. Hard-boiled eggs are rolled down a hill.  Customs differ from place to place. The winner's egg may be the one that rolls the farthest, survives the most rolls, or is rolled between two pegs.

Egg Jarping - It's a bit like playing conkers, with players tapping their opponents' eggs until one breaks. The winner goes through to the next round, and so on until there is only one egg left unbroken.  A good hit by a jarper is called a "dunch". The game is popular in County Durham, where it is played on Easter Sunday.

What are Pace Eggs?

Pace Eggs are hard boiled eggs with patterned shells, they are traditional in northern parts of England at Easter, with local variants in the name, such as Paste Eggs.  The name is derived from Pesach (Passover).  The background colour is provided by onion skins with designs created by leaves and flowers placed next to the shell.







Written By: Feona L Horton

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