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With spring just a hop away, Easter is quickly approaching. Soon, parents will be shopping and filling Easter baskets with bunnies, eggs, and other treats. The sun will shine as children collect Easter eggs and place them into their basket. It is only through heritage that symbols like eggs and rabbits have come to be associated with the Easter holiday.
Prior the popular rise of Christian Easter, Pagans would celebrate the Spring Equinox and welcome in the new season of rebirth after the long, cold winter. In this ceremony, eggs and rabbits symbolized fertility for this time of renewal. These images became associated with the festival and were inherited by Christian Easter. Some would come to regard the egg as a representation of the tomb that was rolled away on Easter Sunday indicating that Christ has rose again.
During medieval times, it became popular for young children to color and dye hen and duck eggs. Since eggs were a forbidden food during the Lenten period prior to Easter, the eggs came to be used as emblems of luck. In Greece, red-hued Easter eggs were exchanged while in Eastern Europe and Russia silver and gold decorations were common, and Austrian Easter eggs often had plant and fern designs.
Later on during the seventeenth and eighteenth century, it became more common to manufacture egg shaped toys for children. Additionally in the 18th century, people could buy pasteboard or paper-maché eggs which could hold small gifts. By the 19th century, cardboard eggs covered with lace, silk or velvet and fastened with ribbon became commonplace.
Early 19th century European brought the first chocolate Easter eggs. An early type of eating chocolate had been invented a few years prior but it could not be successfully molded into any shape. So, some early eggs were solid chocolate. Eventually, however, the process of lining individual molds with chocolate paste one at a time to make hollow eggs was discovered. It was a tedious system. By the turn of the 20th century the uncovering of the modern chocolate making process and improved mass manufacturing methods meant that the hollow molded egg was the most popular gift for Easter.
In 1842, John Cadbury made his first “French eating Chocolate,” but it was not until 1875 that the first Cadbury Easter Eggs were made. The modern chocolate Easter egg owes its all progress to the two greatest developments in the history of chocolate: in 1828, a Dutch press was invented that separates cocoa butter from the cocoa bean and the introduction of pure cocoa by Cadbury Brothers in 1866. The Cadbury process made large quantities of cocoa butter available and this was the secret of making modern molded chocolate.
Since then, chocolate eggs have become a very popular gift for children’s Easter baskets. Many people enjoy and give chocolate eggs today. As for rabbits, they were used in Germany first and German immigrants brought the tradition to America. Since this popular introduction, chocolate rabbits, solid and hollow, have become routine gifts on Easter Sunday.
If you are still in need of chocolate bunnies, chocolate eggs, and more for this Easter, A Cacao Affair can help you! Feel free to browse our site for our entire selection today!