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Why Eggs at Easter?

Why Eggs at Easter?

They first appeared a few days after Christmas, subtle but hiding in plain sight, chocolate Easter eggs in supermarkets. Admittedly Easter falls early this year, but eggs on sale before New Year’s Eve is surely a little too soon.

Why do we give and receive chocolate eggs at Easter, and should we prepare to consume them all year? Why does Easter have a hold on eggs?

The humble egg represents fertility, rebirth, and new beginnings, and has for centuries. From Egyptian mythology to ancient Hindu scripture, eggs have been decorated and given as gifts.

Eggs were given to celebrate the end of winter by the ancient Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians. This coincided with the Easter season on the Christian calendar and eggs soon became part of Easter celebrations.

Painted and hand-decorated eggs were displayed throughout the Easter season and consumed after the fasting of Lent ended. Soon this evolved and cardboard or papier-mâché eggs were used to hide gifts including sweets and chocolate.

Naturally, it was not long before a chocolatier decided to produce a chocolate egg, it was 1873 and JS Fry & Sons produced the first hollow chocolate egg. Two years later John Cadbury produced chocolate eggs on a large scale, making them a staple of Easter, and 150 years later Cadbury’s Crème egg is the most popular chocolate egg globally!

Easter is the best period of the year for the chocolate industry, 75 percent of all chocolate spending is done over Easter, and Australians are the number one consumers of chocolate Easter eggs worldwide!

Supermarkets want to make the most of our chocolate cravings and claim consumers are the reason for the early appearance of Easter eggs on their shelves, but it is more profit-driven than that. Despite claims it is in response to consumer demand and helps people get organised early it also increases sales dramatically – we buy early, and we buy often. We purchase chocolate Easter eggs because they are on display and are usually on sale, but then we eat them and must buy more to give as gifts when Easter actually arrives.

In our chocolate egg-consuming frenzy we can be forgiven for forgetting the true meaning of Easter. It is a time of rebirth and remembering that suffering can be transformed into a new life, as witnessed by the death and resurrection of Jesus. It is the opportunity to start over no matter what your circumstances are, and that is reflected in the work we do at CatholicCare Sydney. Just as it is declared “Christ is risen” on Easter Sunday, the same new beginning can happen to any of us when we have faith in ourselves and take the steps to make changes.

Easter is also a time to reflect on our blessings and to share these with others – be it sharing our time, an act of kindness, or a meal. And chocolate, make sure to share some chocolate Easter eggs with those you love as well.