Easter eggs: Why do we have eggs at Easter?

Easter is one of the most important events in the Christian calendar, celebrating the fall and resurrection of Christ. Even if you are not religious, families and friends still exchange chocolate eggs and enjoy the festivities.

During Lent, eggs were one of the foods that people weren’t allowed to eat (incidentally, this is why we make pancakes on Shrove Tuesday).

So when Easter Sunday came around, tucking into an egg was a treat and a celebration.

Various traditions and superstitions sprang up around the egg at Easter.

Eggs laid on Good Friday were said to turn into diamonds if they were kept for 100 years.

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Some thought that eggs cooked on Good Friday and eaten on Easter would promote fertility and prevent sudden death, and it was customary to have your eggs blessed before eating them.

It was also said that if your egg had two yolks, you’d soon become rich.

However, gifting eggs made of chocolate is more of a recent invention.

Chocolate eggs first appeared in France and Germany, but JS Fry & Sons of Bristol made the first chocolate egg in the UK in 1873, with Cadbury launching its own version two years later.

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But they weren’t for everyone – they were an expensive and luxury gift.

In 1905, Cadbury created the modern chocolate Easter egg after developing a pure cocoa butter that could be moulded into smooth shapes, which led to the Dairy Milk chocolate bar and subsequent Easter eggs being made with this new style milk chocolate.

However, it wasn’t until around the 1950s, when there were developments in production and packaging, that costs lowered and allowed everyone to enjoy Easter eggs.

Rationing of chocolate during World War II meant Cadbury Easter eggs for children came later.

Branded eggs first appeared in the 1960s and became a mainstay on shelves in the 1970s with attractive, child-friendly packaging.

Due to the coronavirus outbreak, shops are being told to limit the items they sell to just “essential”.

Newsagents and corner shops, which have been allowed to stay open under Government guidelines, are facing officials trying to restrict the products they sell under the circumstances.

Some shops have been told by police and local councils Easter eggs do not fall in the essential items category.

The Association of Convenience Stores said the situation was a result of “overzealous enforcement and a misreading of the rules.”

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