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  • Writer's pictureAmy Trudell

Amy's Angle>

Let's Chat About...Easter Traditions

Easter originated as a Religious Holiday but has evolved into a Secular Tradition as well. Some of the common customs that we see today include the Easter Bunny, Easter Eggs, Baskets, Bonnets, and Candy. Let's take a deep dive into how these traditions began.

The Easter Bunny

Some sources say that the Easter Bunny arrived in American in the 1700's with the German immigrants who transported their tradition of an egg-laying hare named "Osterhase" or "Oschter Haws". The children would make nests the night before Easter where he could come and lay his colorful eggs.

The Easter Bunny is a folkloric figure which plays the role of a judge, evaluating whether children have been displaying good behavior. Much like Santa Claus in the Naughty or Nice theory. As part of the legend, the Easter Bunny carries colored eggs, candy and sometimes toys in his basket, delivering them to the homes of deserving children.

Easter Eggs

The Egg is an ancient symbol of new life and has always been associated with the beginning of Spring. Decorating eggs dates back as early as the13th Century. One legend says that in early times, eggs were forbidden to eat during lent. So, during Holy Week, people would start decorating and saving them until Easter Day when they could finally eat them in celebration.

Many other customs besides decorating the eggs have begun over time. Events like Easter Egg Hunts and the Easter Egg Roll. One of our favorite family traditions is the Easter Egg War. This contest consists of each player bumping the pointed end of their egg into each other. Then turning them to do the same with the rounded ends. If both players still have one uncracked side, they go head-to-head and the one with both ends cracked is the looser!

The plastic Easter Egg with a candy or prize inside has also become very popular. However, we like to continue the tradition of actually coloring real eggs. We color the eggs using a dye kit such as Paas, and then the night before Easter, we leave them sitting on the table in a basket of green grass for the Easter Bunny to hide when he arrives to deliver the baskets. When the children awake in the morning, the Easter Egg Hunt is on! Being that the eggs are hidden in places of varying difficulty, the youngest child goes first to find his/her share of the eggs and the hunt will continue from youngest to oldest.

Easter Baskets

Easter Baskets have a special meaning dating back to Medieval Catholicism. The baskets were traditionally lined with white linen and then decorated with sprigs of Boxwood. They were filled with Easter foods and brought to church to be blessed on Holy Saturday. Also, because it was common to give up sweets during lent, Easter Baskets filled with candy were given to their recipients on Easter Sunday as a celebration of their sacrifice.

Easter Bonnets

Easter Bonnets were originally worn to celebrate the coming of Spring. They were also commonly worn at the traditional Easter Parade, which began in New York in the 1870's, on the 1st Easter after the end of the Civil War. Today the Easter Bonnet is a type of hat worn by women and girls to Easter Services.

Another theory about the Easter Bonnet comes from a religious origin. As with the wearing of head coverings by women during Christian prayer and worship in general, the wearing of Easter bonnets is inspired by the passage of 1 Corinthians 11:1-13.

Easter Candy

The German immigrants were the first to introduce the edible Easter Egg in the 1800's. It was usually made with sugar and pastry. By the late 1800's many United States Candy Factories were producing both hollow and filled chocolate eggs. Some other favorites that have developed over the years include:

  1. Cadbury Creme Egg (George & Richard Cadbury launched the 1st Cadbury Easter Egg in 1875. It was a hollow dark chocolate egg with a white creme filling).

  2. Jellybeans (A soft chewy center with a thin candy coating. In the late 1800's William Schrafft, a Boston candy maker, encouraged Americans to send Jellybeans to soldiers fighting in the Civil War. Since then, they have become associated with Easter because of their egg shape).

  3. Hallow Chocolate Bunny (Chocolate bunny molds are believed to originate in Germany, then later brought to America in the 19th Century. Fun Fact - studies show that 76% of people eat the ears first).

  4. Robin Eggs (These malted milk candies in the shape of an egg were introduced sometime between 1994-1952. They come in 4 different colors with blue freckles to resemble the Easter Egg. They are very similar to the "Whoppers").

  5. Peeps (Made of soft marshmallow, rolled in colored sugar in the shape of baby chicks. They were introduced in 1953 by a company named ""Just Born" located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Since then they have remained one of Easter's most popular candies, along with other holidays).

Easter Meal

Everyone's idea of the traditional Easter Meal is different; however, most people can agree that ham is the most common meat served. Along with the ham, some of our favorites include scalloped potatoes, deviled eggs, vegetables, dinner rolls and carrot cake. Randy and I enjoy hosting Easter and generally each guest brings some sort of dish to share. Here is a new carrot cake recipe that I am going to try this year:

What are some of your favorite Easter traditions? Do you have any favorite recipes? If so, please share in the comments below.

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