Interesting facts about Easter

Image: 123RF/remains

The Easter weekend is here, as supermarkets flood shelves with chocolate rabbits and multi-coloured eggs. While many associate Easter with egg hunts and chocolate, there's more to it than that. Most of us know that Easter commemorates the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ, but here are other things you should know about the Christian holiday.

Easter was named after the Anglo-Saxon goddess of spring

According to Saint Bede, Easter is named after the Anglo Saxon goddess of spring, Eostre who had a hare for companionship.  Early Germanic cultures believed that the goddess and her egg-laying hares heralded the beginning of spring. Therefore, Eostre and her hares became a symbol of spring celebrations and fertility.

Easter is celebrated at different times by Western and Eastern Christians

Eastern Christians celebrate Easter at a different time to that of Western Christians because the dates for Easter in Eastern Christianity are based on the Julian calendar as opposed to the Gregorian calendar used by western Christians. This year Easter will be on 1 April for western Christians and on 8 April for eastern Christians.

Pretzels were associated with Easter

Why? Because the twists of the pretzel were thought to resemble arms crossing in prayer.

The origin of the Easter Bunny is rooted in Germany

We can thank the Germans for creating the beloved Easter Bunny in the 16th century. According to the Telegraph, the legend of the Easter Bunny has roots tracing back to the German Lutherans “where the ‘Easter hare’ judged whether children had been good or bad in the run-up to Easter”. The first story of a rabbit hiding eggs in a garden was published in 1680 giving context to what is now known as the Easter Bunny.

59% of people eat the ears of chocolate bunnies first

A study published in The Laryngoscope Journal in 2017 noted that 59% of people when eating a chocolate bunny start with the ears. Only 4% of people are feet first eaters, while a further 33% of people indicated no preference.

The traditional act of painting eggs is called Psyanka

The Psyanka is an intricately decorated Easter egg and is a famous Easter tradition in Ukraine. The origin of psyanka is associated with pagan rituals and superstitions, dating back over ten centuries. The psyanka is a symbol of earth's release from the shackles of winter into spring. The eggs are not supposed to be eaten but rather kept as decoration.

In 2011 the largest recorded Easter egg was made in Italy

The largest chocolate Easter egg recorded was made by a single chocolatier in Tosca, measuring 10.39 meters and weighing 7,200 kilograms. The chocolate egg is the largest ever made.