I awoke this morning to a skype-session with my year-and-a-half year old chocolate covered nephew and a snotty nose. His parents had forced him to say thank you for the egg-shaped Irish treats I had sent him and we spend a few minutes stuffing our faces (him), blowing our noses (me) and singing “itsy bitsy spider” (both of us).
Since Easter is probably the most important christian holiday around it does always surprise me how few people really know what is celebrated. So instead of thinking about Jesus dying for or sins and then rising from the dead to save us all, most people spend their time devouring one chocolate egg after another thanking the Easter Bunny.
It really is surprising that the reason eggs dominate Easter goes back to the fact that the church didn’t allow eggs to be eaten in the week (Holy Week) leading up to Easter Sunday. To not waste the eggs laid in Holy Week they were painted and given to the children on Easter Sunday as gifts.
The Victorians (1820-1900) then came up with the idea of making satin covered cardboard eggs and filled them with little gifts. This idea prompted craftsmen to start making eggs out of porcelain and later silver and gold. The ultimate Easter Eggs of the 19th Century were of course Fabergé’s creations that he made for Tzar Alexanders wife Marie.
But trust the Germans and French to come up with a more edible idea. In the early 19th century they made the very first chocolate eggs. Sadly they were a little bitter and hard but over time, as chocolate became softer and easier to mould, they perfected the know commonly known hollow variety.
However it was Cadburys introduction of pure cocoa in 1966 , combined with the Dutch invention of a press that separated the cocoa butter from the bean (1982), that allowed the mass production of Easter Eggs as we know them today.
So whether the fox (some parts of southern Germany) , the cuckoo (Switzerland) or the Easter Bunny left you a chocolaty treat today maybe spend a minute thanking the industrial revolution for the chocolaty goodness melting in your mouth. And while you nibble, chew and smile say a grateful prayer, celebrating the true meaning of Easter.
Some hand painted eggs in my window