Easter Traditions and Fun : Chocolate Eggs, Bunnies and Gifts
Springtime Celebration and Renewal
Easter is one of the great joys of Spring. Following the cold, dark days of Winter, it is a time of celebration and renewal. Children especially enjoy the tradition of giving and receiving Easter eggs, particularly chocolate eggs and plastic eggs filled with toys or candy. They are probably not too concerned with the symbolism : fertility, rebirth and the empty tomb of Jesus! It's much more exciting to hunt around the house or garden for decorated eggs, delicious chocolate or little treasures.
Easter egg hunts are, of course, great fun. You can try several different variations such as hiding eggs in the house or garden, leaving clues or riddles for participants to solve, or using a treasure map. For the youngest children, you could make a simple treasure trail, marked with chocolate coins or chalk arrows or even with paw prints left by the Easter Bunny.
On this page, you will find some of the highest-rated and most popular Easter treats for your Easter Egg Hunt, including the famous Lindt Bunny, and more about the history and traditions of Eastertime.
The German Eierbaum - decorated with eggs
In Germany, there is an ancient tradition of decorating the branches of outdoor bushes and trees, as well as cut branches inside the house with eggs for Easter. Although centuries old, the origins have been lost. This custom is also found in Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Moravia, Poland, Ukraine, and the Pennsylvania Dutch region of the US.
The photo shows the Saalfelder Eierbaum, in 2009, decorated with 9200 colorful eggs. It was taken by AndrewPoison who has released it into the public domain.
Creamy Chocolate Eggs and Bunnies - by Cadbury, Hershey and Lindt
I recently visited Cadbury World, at Bournville, near Birmingham in England. The tour is fascinating, and I recommend it for anyone who wants to know more about the history of chocolate. You will discover how chocolate evolved from an exotic drink into the delightful candy treat we enjoy today, what motivated the Cadbury family to set up their factory at Bournville, and how, in 1893, George Cadbury, the philanthropist, designed and built a village for his workers which would 'alleviate the evils of modern more cramped living conditions' and provide schools and recreational facilities.
The History of the Easter Bunny
The Easter Bunny has been around for centuries. He was first mentioned in 'De ovis paschalibus' by Georg Franck von Franckenau in 1682. Also known as the Easter Rabbit or Easter Hare, he oiginated among German Lutherans. His role was to decide whether children were good or disobedient at the start of the Easter season. According to legend, the night before Easter, the Bunny carries colored eggs, candy and toys in his basket, candy and sometimes also toys to the homes of good children. Even now, some churches bring a live rabbit into the congregation for services on Easter Sunday, usually for the children's message.
This cute postcard bringing a Loving Easter Greeting was published in 1907, so the image is now in the public domain.
Make your own Pysanka - Ukrainian-Style Decorated Egg - Egg Decorating Kit for Creating Unique Treasures
A Ukrainian pysanka is an Easter egg decorated using a wax-resist (batik) method. The designs are actually written on with beeswax. Similar traditions exist in other eastern European countries including Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Lithuania, Poland and Serbia.
Each village and most families in Ukraine had their own designs and formulas for dyeing eggs, with customs being passed down from mother to daughter. The colors and symbols have special meanings, sometimes multiple meanings, for example:
Red, associated with the sun, represents blood, love and joy, and the hope of marriage.
Blue represents blue skies, the air, and good health.
Grapevines are said to represent the fruits of a good Christian life.
The fish, associated with health, represents abundance, and also symbolizes Jesus Christ, the fisher of men.
Kit containing heavy and medium tip Kistkas (hot wax pens), drop pull tools, a block of black beeswax, 6 traditional dyes, instructions and design ideas.
Toy-filled Easter Eggs
It's very easy to have a candy overload at Easter, so here are some super alternatives. You can still use eggs in Easter Egg hunts, but instead of chocolate, they contain small toys and treasures. There are many themed packs available, such as dinosaur eggs, Littlest Pet Shop eggs and Matchbox vehicles. If you're planning an egg hunt with a group of children, a large, mixed pack of egg-toys is very useful. Children can be encouraged to share and swap to make sure everyone goes home happy.
Egg Rolling - a traditional Easter game
"Pace-egging" is a traditional game played at Easter. In the United Kingdom, and other countries, such as germany, children rolled decorated eggs down grassy hillsides at Easter. Different countries have different versions of the game, including the US, where it is played on the White House lawn. The name "pace-egging", comes from the Old English Pasch meaning Pesach or Passover.
This photo from the National Photo Company Collection, Library of Congress, is in the Public Domain.
Plastic Easter Eggs - for Easter Egg Hunts
You can easily get hold of plastic Easter Eggs that are perfect for treasure hunts and parties. You can fill them gifts, chocolate, candies and toys of your choice. For children's parties, there are plastic eggs in small and large sizes. For an adult event, you might prefer shiny eggs in gold, silver and purple. They can be filled and used for an egg hunt. They also make a lovely center piece for your celebration dinner table.
Tapping, Dumping, Jarping or Pocking - depending on where you grew up!
Known as "egg tapping" or "jarping", in the north of England, in this game hard boiled "pace-eggs" are hit together by players, until only one is left intact. The annual world championship is held in Peterlee Cricket Club. This traditional game is also practised in Bulgaria, Croatia, Latvia, Lebanon, Macedonia, and several other countries. In South Louisiana it is called Pocking.
The photo was uploaded to Wikipedia by Walter J. Pilsak, it used here under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license.