Why eat chocolate at Easter?
Discover Easter chocolates
WHY EAT CHOCOLATE AT EASTER? THE ORIGINS OF THE TRADITION
Although Easter is of great importance in Christianity, since it celebrates the resurrection of Christ, the festival also occupies a special place in the hearts of food lovers. Every year, Easter chocolates punctuate the beginning of spring to the delight of young and old alike.
At first glance, it is difficult to make the link between the return to life of Christ and the egg hunt. However, the two are well linked! Between pagan symbolism, Christian tradition and children's stories, this is the origin of Easter chocolates.
THE EASTER EGG AND ITS ROOTS IN ANTIQUITY
An arty wind blows over the traditional Easter egg. Inside the
The origin of the Easter eggs goes back to long before the Christian religion entered history. It is a symbol rooted in cultures since the dawn of time, and has been the subject of many pagan rites and traditions throughout the world.
Decorated ostrich eggs 60,000 years old have even been discovered in Southern Africa!
In ancient times, especially in Persia and Egypt, it was customary to treat oneself to decorated or red-dyed eggs at the coming of spring, the season of new life. Already in those faraway times, the egg symbolised rebirth, renewal.
THE ORIGINS OF THE EASTER EGG IN THE CHRISTIAN RELIGION
Before being a chocolate delicacy, the egg is the emblem of life, especially in the Christian religion. Naturally, this meaning coincides with the resurrection of Christ, which is celebrated at Easter. The chocolate Easter egg would then be the descendant of a custom imbued with a strong spiritual symbolism. If this explanation is correct until proven otherwise, it is not the only one responsible for the famous Easter tradition.
It would appear that the fasting period of Lent played a role in the development of this custom. Until the 17th century, Christians were not allowed to eat eggs during the 40 days of Lent. However, the hens did not stop laying eggs for all that!
Consequently, at the end of Lent, when the fast was broken, families had dozens of eggs on their hands. So the idea arose not to spoil them, but to decorate them and offer them as gifts on Easter Sunday.
As part of this tradition, Nicholas II, Emperor of Russia, gave his family Fabergé eggs made of gold and decorated with precious stones, famous jewellery masterpieces specially made for the imperial family.
For many centuries, Easter eggs were simple boiled, patterned or coloured hen eggs. It was not until the 18th century that the idea of filling these eggs with liquid chocolate began to gain ground, as chocolate handling techniques evolved.
It was the appearance of moulds that gave rise to the chocolate eggs we enjoy today. These allow us to give chocolate the shape we want, and they have been a great success with confectioners, who were quick to make this delicacy a must for Easter.
In the effervescence of this innovation, the chocolate hen joins her offspring on the Easter tables. Over the years, the chocolate makers have freed themselves from the established rules to offer Easter chocolate in all its forms: farmyard animals, fish and other sculptures to be savoured, to the great pleasure of gourmets.
THE BELLS AND THE EASTER CHOCOLATE HUNT
Can we talk about Easter without mentioning the emblematic egg hunt that accompanies it? The origins of the Easter egg hunt can be found in a little story, commonly told to children during the last days of Lent. Among Catholics, church bells are silent for three days, from Maundy Thursday to Easter Eve, to commemorate the death of Christ.
To explain this silence, at a time when village life was punctuated by the sound of bells, the children were told that the bells had gone to Rome to be blessed by the Pope, and that they would return to sow the eggs they had collected on their way in the gardens.
On the morning following the night of their return, on Easter Day, the children ran into their gardens in search of the chocolate eggs left behind by the bells. In some regions, such as Alsace or Switzerland, legend has it that it is a rabbit or a hare that comes to distribute Easter chocolates.
Today, Easter chocolates are above all the emblem of a festive and convivial day, for which the master chocolate makers unveil irresistible creations and during which greed is a virtue!