5 Easter facts you probably don’t know
Easter. Originally a pagan celebration of renewal and rebirth that honoured the pagan Saxon goddess of fertility, ‘Eostre’, it later merged with the Christian tradition as their timings coincided.
Looking for more fun Easter facts? Here are 5 of my favourites.
1) Roll aside, eggs – pretzels are also associated with Easter
Why? Because the criss-cross twists of this savoury snack is thought to resemble arms in a prayer.
The legend goes back to 610 AD where a young Italian monk was preparing special bread for Lent, the preparatory follow-up period to Easter that is a time of fasting, abstinence, or giving up a significant indulgence.
He twisted the leftover dough into this cross, with the three holes representing the Holy Trinity.
He rewarded children who could recite their prayers, naming his creation “pretiola”, Latin for “little reward”.
By 1450, Germans would celebrate Good Friday by eating pretzels with a hard-boiled egg nestled in each round curve, to symbolize everlasting life and rebirth respectively.
2) This year marks the 142nd annual Easter Egg Roll at the White House
“The White House Easter Egg Roll” is a timely tradition dating back to 1878 under the presidency of Rutherford B. Hayes
Accounts vary, but one story tells of a group of brave children who showed up to the Capitol in hopes to roll eggs, where the White House gates were opened to them.
Now, more than 35,000 parents and children participate in this major egg-rolling party, with other Easter festivities, educational stations (e.g. under the Obama administration, this played into the first lady’s Let’s Move initiative with a Yoga Garden and a healthy eating station!), live musical acts, and celebrity appearances.
3) JS Fry & Sons of Bristol made the first chocolate egg in the UK in 1873
Yep, they were the OGs; Cadbury didn’t launch their version until two years later.
Back in the day, they were decorated by hand to suit Victorian tastes, made from dark chocolate.
Soon, Cadbury launched their Easter eggs created from a less bitter kind of chocolate that was also easier to mould into an egg shape, quickly dominating the market as it does today.
4) The Easter bunny’s origin story is a mystery
One theory is that it derived from the pagan festival of Eostre which uses a rabbit as its animal symbol.
Another line of thought is that rabbits are known for their energetic breeding and proliferative life cycle, hence their longstanding symbol of fertility.
Makes sense since April is the beginning of springtime, a time of birth and renewal.
5) Public dancing is illegal in most states in Germany on Good Friday
12 out of the 16 German states impose a day-long ban on public dancing, with the remaining 4 enforcing a partial ban for a few hours.
Even Berlin, famous as the country’s clubbing capital, has made dancing illegal from 4am to 9pm.
This is out of respect and consideration for Christians, as Good Friday and Easter Saturday are marked as days of mourning for Jesus’ crucifixion.
Have a great Easter break!