If we’re thanking the American pilgrims for Christmas turkeys, then we’d better thank the German Lutherans for Easter eggs. History suggests that they created an ‘Easter Hare’ who ‘originally played the role of a judge, evaluating whether children were good or disobedient in behaviour at the start of the season of Eastertide’. This hare was often depicted in clothes carrying coloured eggs in a basket. By 1682, we’d got to a point where a German author referred to a German tradition of an Easter Hare bringing Easter eggs for the children.
Clearly, the tradition about whether the children had been good or bad got dropped along the way (funny that!) and we ‘re now just left with a tradition where the average British child will be given £56 worth of chocolate eggs, receiving – on average – eight eggs and eating them over four days! In keeping that tradition going, they’ll consume 8,000 calories (probably the equivalent of a year’s worth of calories for an average German child in the 16th Century).
Eating that many eggs should carry a government health warning. After all, the average chocolate egg contains 5 grams of sugar (so should attract the attention of both Jamie Oliver and the Chancellor of the Exchequer pretty soon) and can lead to serious addictions in later life.
But given the amount of VAT that will be payable over the next few days, the government may choose not to. The UK chocolate Easter Egg market is worth in excess of £220 million and we’ll be spending £70 million of that on Cadbury’s crème eggs alone. Its Bourneville factory will be upping production so that it can make 1.5 million Creme Eggs every day.
Many of those eggs will be waiting to be found in giant Easter Egg hunts that will be taking place up and down the country this weekend. The Lake District is claiming that it will be hosting the North of England’s largest, but then it will take place on the site of ‘The World of Beatrix Potter Attraction’ (who did as much as anyone to make us fall in love with winsome rabbits).
The National Trust claims that its Easter Egg hunts will be the best, but then it has teamed up with Cadbury’s to offer children the chance to look for eggs in its many picturesque properties up and down the country.
The best hunts, however, are those probably organised in a close friend’s or relative’s back garden, where there’s very little space to hide them and the hunt can be quickly over so the eating can begin.
Whether (and wherever) your Easter egg hunt takes place, on behalf of the Explorer Travel insurance team, we do wish you a happy Easter.