easter egg facts
Picture of chocolate muffins with mini easter eggs on top

A dozen Easter egg facts

  • Despite the fact that most of us associate Easter with chocolate eggs, it is actually hens’ eggs that are the traditional food of Easter Sunday.
  • The link between eggs and Easter derives from the Christian tradition of fasting through Lent, the 40 days before Easter Sunday.
  • According to Christian tradition, Lent begins on Shrove Tuesday, or Pancake Day as we know it today. In past times, Shrovetide celebrations lasted for four days, beginning on the Saturday when eggs were given as gifts to children. ‘Egg Saturday’ was followed by Shrove Sunday, Collop Monday and finally Shrove Tuesday, when the remaining fat and eggs were used up to make pancakes.
  • During Lent the eating of animal products, including eggs, was strictly forbidden. However, hens continued to lay throughout the fast, resulting in a large stock for Easter Sunday.
  • The custom of exchanging decorative eggs was prevalent in many of the world’s ancient civilizations. Eggs were regarded as a symbol of the universe or a creation of God. They also represented fertility, resurrection and new life.
  • The word ‘Easter’ is derived from Eostre, an ancient Anglo-Saxon goddess who symbolised the rebirth of the day at dawn and the rebirth of life in the spring.
  • The Easter Act was first passed in Parliament in 1928. The purpose was to provide a fixed date for Easter, establishing Easter Sunday as the Sunday following the second Saturday in April. But although the Act was passed, it has yet to be implemented.
  • In some parts of Europe, scarlet Easter eggs are planted in the fields and vineyards to protect crops from thunder and hail.
  • Easter egg throwing was a popular pastime in medieval times. The event was held in church, with the priest throwing a hard boiled egg to one of the choirboys. The boys would toss the egg between them and whoever held the egg when the clock struck 12 was the winner and could keep the egg.
  • Egg tapping is an Easter game in which two players face each other, holding a hard boiled egg in their hands with one end showing. The aim is to crack the opponent’s egg without damaging your own.
  • Pace-egging is a traditional Easter game dating back hundreds of years. In the UK, it is usually played by rolling hard-boiled, decorated eggs down grassy hills. Pace-egging competitions are held across the country during Easter.
  • The hop-egg is an Easter game in which the goal is to dance among eggs laid out on the floor without damaging them. The game is said to have been brought to England by the Saxons in the 5th Century.

Did you know?

  • In the UK, children receive on average 8.8 chocolate Easter eggs every year.
  • More than half of children (58%) consider chocolate eggs the most important part of Easter.
  • 38% of kids are unaware of the traditional reason for eating eggs at Easter.
  • 43% of kids eat their first chocolate egg before Easter Sunday.
  • The average time for children to start tucking into their first chocolate Easter egg is 11am on Easter Sunday, with 30% of children eating their chocolate egg instead of breakfast.
  • One in five children (19%) have made themselves ill because they have eaten too much chocolate during the holidays.
  • Children eat on average 1.5 real eggs between Good Friday and Easter Monday.
  • Decorating eggs is a popular activity at Easter. More than half (56%) of parents get their children to paint eggs.

Research carried out by OnePoll on 2,000 parents in November 2009.