I have, on a few occasions, been very close to spending an Easter abroad. One year I almost had to stay in Italy for the holidays after missing my flight by a mere twelve hours (I don’t mix very well with 24 hour clocks). Then last year I was offered the opportunity to au pair in Spain for the spring; an offer I turned down despite the promise of incredible festivities as part of semana santa.
So the only Easter I know is the British one. Celebrations that, for me, always used to involve fashioning curious bonnets out of newspaper, enjoying hot cross buns in bed on Good Friday, and ending up with so many Easter eggs that I would flog them to my family like some sort of chocolate loving Del Boy. Nowadays the only real difference is that I don’t sell off the excess chocolate: I eat it.
…a good time to bring the health qualities of chocolate to the fore…
Easter, with its bunnies, chocolate and cream eggs, is a season entangled with a wealth of ancient traditions. Take hot cross buns for example. Now that they can be bought one a penny (…two a penny) throughout the year from any supermarket, we seem to ignore the heritage of this symbolic treat. Not that their history is very clear: some say that hot cross buns can be traced back to the Romans, while others insist that they were first created by the Saxons.
One thing is apparent though, through the centuries they have been linked with having a plethora of magical qualities. One such legend is that if they are baked on Good Friday they will provide good fortune and health to all who eat them. So that’s another reason to indulge in baked goods this Easter, I now just have to find an excuse for stuffing myself with Easter eggs. Do you think this is a good time to bring the health qualities of chocolate to the fore?
…easier to churn out sweets for special celebrations…
Although Easter eggs might not offer the same hope of good health that hot cross buns supposedly can, their shape does represent new life and rebirth, and that’s good enough for me. The egg’s relationship with spring goes back as far as the Ancient World, where they would be dyed and eaten during spring festivals. This tradition continued and found its way to Western society, where the prospect of decorating an egg and then eating it after a long Lenten fast would have seemed quite a treat. The chocolate element became popular thanks to the Industrial Revolution, which made it easier to churn out sweets for special celebrations, ultimately fuelling the Easter egg market of today.
So while this springtime celebration will always represent a time of new beginnings and new life, it also goes hand in hand with ancient traditions and customs that create the British Easter we all know and love.