Why Do We Have Easter Egg Hunts?
Each year many of us will be ready to begin our Easter egg hunts, whether with your children in your own back yard or at a friends get together or even with your own friends for a laugh. Hiding the chocolate eggs and bunnies is what many of us grew up with but not many of us have actually wondered where the story came about. Well we have done the research and its actually quite fascinating!
The tale originated from Germany, dating back to the 16th century when the Protestant reformer Martin Luther organised egg hunts for his congregation. In the German Lutheran tradition the Easter egg hunt is linked to the Easter Bunny – or the Easter Hare as he was originally known. Hares and rabbits were associated with fertility and with the Virgin Mary, they would often appear in paintings of the Virgin and Christ Child. It was a symbol of new life.
Queen Victoria enjoyed egg hunts as a child at Kensington Palace. Organised by her mother, the German-born Duchess of Kent. On Sunday 7 April 1833, the 14-year-old Princess Victoria wrote in her diary: ‘Mama did some pretty painted & ornamented eggs, & we looked for them’. Later on Victoria and Albert continued this German tradition, hiding eggs for their own children to find on Maundy Thursday. Custom had it that the hare would bring a basket of brightly painted eggs for all the children who had been good, and these would be hidden around the house and garden for the children to find.
At the time, the eggs were hard-boiled as this was a custom in the UK and then decorated in paint and materials. The simplest way to colour eggs was to boil them with onion skins, which gave the shells a rich golden hue. Colours for the boiled eggs would be based on what colors meant to the church: yellow for resurrection, blue for love, red for the blood of Christ. They would paint various scenes from the Bible on eggs and hide them; the child who found the egg would come back and tell the story painted on that egg. This is another form of the easter egg hunt that would later evolve in what we do today. In the north of England and in Scotland the custom of decorating eggs, and giving them as presents, or using them to decorate the home goes back many centuries. Known as ‘pace-egging’ from the Latin for Easter, pascha, it is first recorded in early- eighteenth century Lancashire, and by the early 19th century was popular across large parts of the country.
Easter eggs and the egg hunt became more popular in mainstream England in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It moved away from being a religious celebration and became a holiday activity more centred on family, home and the pleasures of children.
Nowadays Easter egg hunting has evolved into a treasure hunt of all prizes including chocolate, sweets, toys and coins. For this Easter forget the guilt and indulge in the purest, organic chocolate that is farmed sustainably and ecologically. From CACHAO chocolate bunnies to chocolate eggs with cashew clusters inside, filled with unique flavours that hit all the senses. A perfect treat for yourself on this upcoming Easter weekend.
Shop our limited edition Easter products in our CACHAO chocolate manufactory at Plaça Navegación 14, in Santa Catalina, Palma de Mallorca.