Monday, 29 March 2010

Why we eat Chocolate at Easter...

This week is the lead up to Easter and with that in mind I'm going to try to stick to an Easter theme in my blog.

The first investigation had to be into why chocolate is so strongly associated with Easter and why the eggs and bunnies???

Easter Sunday is the day upon which Christian's celebrate the end of Lent - a 40 day fast (beginning on Ash Wednesday) which marks the period that Jesus Christ spent in the desert prior to the events leading up to His crucifixion. It is also a time for penitence and reflection. Traditionally people used to give up meat, dairy and other animal related food products as well as any rich and luxurious foods. Easter is the festival which marks the end of this fasting and the resurrection of Jesus with feasts and celebrations.

Although as times have moved on fewer people now fast through the duration of Lent it is still common for believers to give up certain things and mark the period in their own ways.

As chocolate was introduced to the Western world it was very much considered a luxury product and as it also contains milk it was often one of the things people gave up for Lent (and some people still do). With this in mind chocolate became one of the key components of Easter celebration feasts with people gifting each other chocolate eggs, bunnies and even cakes!

The cakes are understandable as they are also a very indulgent item but the eggs and bunnies? They represent the celebration of Jesus's resurrection by symbolising life and rebirth - the bunnies being symbolic of spring (when Easter is celebrated).

So there you have it - this year when you receive your Easter treats take a second to remember the tradition and roots of the festival - it will make them all the more delicious!!! =)

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