Easter Sunday is a day filled with delicious food, family gatherings, and fun activities like Easter egg hunts. But have you ever wondered about the origins of some of the holiday's longstanding traditions, such as egg decorating, gift baskets, and the cotton-tailed, candy-delivering Easer bunny? While you sit down to enjoy your post-church Easter brunch this year, test out your family's knowledge of the holiday with these fun facts about Easter. The winner can receive an extra sweet surprise in their Easter basket this year!
The Easter bunny has long been a symbol of the Easter holiday. Though the exact origins of the fluffy long-eared mammal is unknown, reports that Americans started making nests and leaving colored eggs for a mythical rabbit in the 1700s. The tradition started when German immigrants settled into the U.S., bringing with them their tradition of an egg-laying hare called "."
Despite being widely associated with the Christian holiday, the Easter bunny is never mentioned in the Bible. According to , scholars believe that Easter originated as an Anglo-Saxon festival honoring the coming of spring and a goddess named Eastre, whose sacred symbols are the hare and the egg.
Some Christian missionaries hoped that by aligning the days of celebration of their festivals and by adopting some pagan traditions, Anglo-Saxon followers would become more inclined to convert to Christianity, reports. Eggs were eaten and buried as part of the Anglo-Saxon celebration of Eastre to encourage fertility, so some scholars believe this to be a reason why eggs are associated with the Christian holiday of Easter today. Another is that strict Christian fasting practices during Lent prohibited them from consuming a lot of the food groups, so Christians hard-boiled them to eat post-Lent.
Though today most of your Easter eggs fit well within your palm, there have been much bigger pastel-hued, chocolate-flavored eggs over the course of this tradition. According to , the largest Easter egg ever created weighted over 8,000 pounds. The best part? Aside from an internal steel frame to keep it in place, the giant egg was made out of pure chocolate and marshmallow.
According to , residents in 13th century England brought Easter egg gifts to their lords and churches as special offerings every holiday. They were dyed colors to signify special meanings, like red as a symbol of joy.
Though many may dye eggs simply because it's a fun Easter tradition, a 19th century Catholic magazine called stated that early Christians in Mesopotamia dyed their eggs red to represent the blood that Christ shed on Good Friday.
Yes, you heard us correctly. According to predictions by the National Retail Federation's , consumers will spend over $2 billion buying chocolate bunnies, Cadbury eggs, Jelly Beans, and your beloved Peeps this year.
Speaking of Peeps, it used to take 27 hours to make them in 1953. According to , Rodda Candy Company made the marshmallow chicks with a pastry tube, and the Peeps took over a day to set. Today? You can have a fresh Peep ready for eating in just six minutes.
What you'll need: Peeps ($20 for a 5-pack, )
Sorry Cadbury egg lovers, but Peeps has every other candy beat when it comes to the preferred holiday sweet. reports that people have been loving Peeps the most for nearly 20 years.
What you'll need: Cadbury Eggs ($7 for a 5-pack, )
This may not come as a surprise, but the majority of Americans would choose a milk chocolate sweet over a dark chocolate option any day. Results from a survey by found that 85% of adults like milk chocolate, whereas only 15% of those aged 18-44 crave dark.
As cute as those little chocolate-covered hares are, they're a hit with the kids and always find their way into Easter baskets all over the world. According to one recent study in that surveyed 28,000 people, 59 percent of Americans go for the ears first when enjoying the treat, while 4 percent start with the end. And as for the other 33 percent? They have no preference, as long as they get to eat a chocolate bunny on Easter Sunday!
Did you know that the date of Easter Sunday is determined based on the cycles of the moon? According to , Easter occurs on the first Sunday after the Paschal full moon, which is the first full moon on or after the spring equinox. This year, Easter Sunday will fall on April 21.
Easter is one of the biggest religious holidays in the liturgical year. On Easter Sunday, about 50% of all Americans plan to attend church, according to results from conducted by the National Retail Federation.
Not to be confused with Halloween, children in Finland and hop around the neighborhood in search of chocolate eggs and treats. Some burn bonfires as a Nordic tradition to ward off witches during Holy Week.
The White House is known for throwing a good , and Easter is no exception. For over 130 years, the president has hosted an on the South Lawn, where children roll pastel hard-boiled eggs with a spoon. Music, an egg hunt, and crafts are also all part of the celebration.