Brightly decorated eggs, chocolate eggs and egg hunts have become integral to the celebration of Easter today. Eggs symbolise fertility and new life, and the ancient Greeks, Romans, Egyptians and Persians all used dyed eggs in their spring celebrations. It was only natural that the tradition be incorporated into the Christian holiday, which also focuses on rebirth and renewal.
The long tradition of hand-painted 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 Iof England who ordered 450 eggs to be gold-leafed and coloured for Easter gifts in 1290.
The Easter egg hunt:
Easter Egg Hunting began in America when German immigrants brought their Osterhase tradition to Pennsylvania in the 1700s. The festivity soon spread across the nation, and baskets replaced nests. Eventually, the game evolved into a treasure hunt, and the prizes expanded from just hard-boiled eggs to include chocolate, candy, toys and coins. In many families it is the “Easter Bunny”that leaves a basket filled with gifts, not just eggs to find.
The first Easter eggs made of chocolate:
How did chocolate get involved? It's impossible to say who invented the chocolate egg, but these confections started appearing in France and Germany in the early 19th century. The first were solid dark chocolate eggs that tasted grainy, coarse and bitter.The truth is, chocolate wasn't really all that great back then, it contained around 50 percent fat, which made it incredibly hard to digest. Confectioners were forced to add various starches and other ingredients to make chocolate more palatable. In 1866, however, the Cadbury chocolate company imported a revolutionary press that cut out half the candy's fat content, making a smoother, better-tasting form of dark chocolate. In 1875, Cadbury released its first line of chocolate Easter eggs, which were hollow and filled with sugared almonds.
The 50 Imperial Easter eggs of Russia: The first “Fabergé egg” - first of a limited number of jewelled eggs created by artist Peter Carl Fabergé - was presented by Tsar Alexander III to his wife, the Empress Maria Fedorovna, at Easter in 1885, an annual tradition which his son Nicholas II followed with eggs for his mother and wife each Easter Sunday.Of the approximately 50 eggs made for the Russian Imperial family between 1885 and 1916, 42 are known to have survived as precious collectable art works.
Date Created: 21/03/2016