15 Fun facts about Easter you might not know

March 25, 2024

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Easter egg chocolates

Who doesn’t love Easter? You can eat large quantities of chocolate for breakfast and then scurry around the garden, trying to find colorful eggs left behind by a magical bunny. If you’re more of a traditionalist, you can attend special services at church and spend time with loved ones.

We’ve compiled our top 15 facts about this holiday. From popular candy to the origins of traditions, we’ve got plenty of trivia for you to impress your family with at Easter lunch.

1. Easter is the oldest Christian holiday

Easter is a Christian holiday commemorating Jesus’s death and resurrection over 2,000 years ago. Historical evidence suggests Christians have celebrated it since at least the 2nd century. Easter is based on a pagan festival celebrating renewal and rebirth.

2. The Easter Bunny is German

The Easter bunny
The Easter bunny is known all over the world

The Easter Bunny is a much-loved symbol worldwide, but did you know he originated in Germany? The ‘Osterhase’ has been mentioned in German literature since the 1500s. The bunny acted as a fluffy version of Santa and judged whether children had been ‘naughty or nice’. Good children were gifted colored eggs, candy, and other gifts.

3. The world’s largest easter egg was over 54 ft tall

According to Guinness World Records, the world’s largest decorated egg is 16.72 m tall and 10.88 m in diameter. It was created on 18 February 2023 in Pomerode, Santa Catarina, Brazil. Thankfully, there is no shortage of chocolate in Brazil; the country is one of the world’s top cocoa producers, producing over 270,000 tons in 2022.

4. Easter is named after an Anglo-Saxon goddess

Easter has many names throughout the world, but the English word is said to have originated from ‘Δ’ostre’, the name of an Ango-Saxon goddess. Δ’ostre was the goddess of fertility, spring, and dawn, who was worshipped during the Spring Equinox. The evolution of ‘Δ’ostre’ to ‘Easter’ shows the fusion of the Christian celebrations with ancient pagan festivities.

5. Fry’s created the first recorded chocolate Easter egg

Chocolate Easter egg
Chocolate Easter egg

Chocolate eggs have been made in France and Germany since the early 19th century. However, British confectioner Fry’s made the world’s first chocolate Easter egg in 1873. Cadbury, another British confectioner, created a technique for mass-producing chocolate easter eggs two years later and created the ‘modern’ Easter egg as we know it.

6. Easter Egg Roll has been held at the White House since 1878

The Easter Egg Roll (where children push easter eggs through the grass with a spoon) at the White House has been held almost every year since 1878. Two years prior, Congress ruled that children couldn’t play the traditional game on the Capitol grounds as it was wrecking the grass. In response, President Rutherford B. Hayes announced that children could play the game on the grounds of the White House if they wished. Thanks, Mr. President!

7. Over 80% of Americans celebrate Easter

In 2023, 81% of Americans said they celebrated Easter. Popular Easter gifts include hollow chocolate rabbits, peeps (marshmallow candy), and chocolate eggs. Many people also enjoy painting eggs and decorating easter bonnets.

8. Peeps were introduced over 70 years ago

Peeps marshmallow chicks
Peeps marshmallow chicks

Easter isn’t just a chocolate-fest! Peeps are one of the most popular Easter candies in the United States. These marshmallow treats come in bright colors and are shaped like bunnies, chicks, and other animals. They were first introduced by Pennsylvania-based Just Born Quality Confections in 1953.

9. Easter clothes are lucky

A long-held Easter tradition suggests that wearing new clothes at Easter will bring you good luck throughout the year. This was likely because new clothes symbolized a fresh start and new beginnings.

10. Dancing is banned in Germany on Good Friday

It may sound odd, but it’s true! Dancing (or music events of any kind) are banned from 4 am to 9 pm on Good Friday in Germany. Good Friday is a Christian ‘silent day’ in Germany when people are encouraged to observe religious reflection.

11. Pretzels were historically associated with Easter

Bavarian pretzels
Bavarian pretzels

Pretzels may have originated in Germany or France around the 7th century. They were popularly used to celebrate Easter as the knotted dough was thought to resemble hands in prayer. Catholics abstained from eating meat on certain days through Lent, so pretzels may have acted as a filling alternative.

12. Easter eggs used to be colored with onion peel and tree bark

Easter eggs were traditionally dyed red to symbolize the blood of Jesus Christ. They were later dyed in different colors using natural ingredients. Onion peel dyed eggs brown, tree bark dyed black, and beetroot juice dyed pink.

13. Irving Berlin made Easter bonnets fashionable

Easter bonnets are decorated hats that people traditionally wear at Easter. They were popularized in American culture by composer Irving Berlin in his song ‘Easter Parade’ (which he composed in 1917 and wrote lyrics to in 1933). Easter bonnets were a relatively cheap treat during the Great Depression of the 1930s and soon became a much-loved tradition.

14. Easter’s date depends on the moon

While other holidays (such as Christmas and Halloween) are on the same date each year, Easter annually changes. Easter Sunday occurs on the first Sunday after the full moon on or after the Spring Equinox. If the full moon takes place on a Sunday, Easter Sunday will take place on the following Sunday.

15. Easter Island was ‘discovered’ on Easter Sunday

Statues on Easter Island
There are nearly 1,000 moai statues on Easter Island

Easter Island, a Chilean territory in the Pacific Ocean, was discovered by Dutch explorer Jacob Roggeveen in 1722. Roggeveen found it on 5 April, Easter Sunday, which inspired the island’s name. However, the island had been inhabited since 400 to 800 AD.

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