We’re all partial to some chocolate or a lamb roast over the Easter weekend, but how do eggs, bunnies and buns fit into it all?
We’ve delved a little deeper to uncover the backstory of some of the most popular Easter traditions.
The Easter Bunny appears to have originated in Germany, when tales were shared of the ‘Oschter Haws’ (Easter Hare) who laid eggs for children to find. Its presence became more common when Germans moved to America, and introduced the custom, particularly in Pennsylvania, in the 1700s.
The custom of giving eggs at Easter is steeped in tradition. For Christians, the egg symbolises new life and Jesus’s resurrection.
In medieval Europe, eggs were forbidden during Lent, so once the fast was over, eggs became a staple at Easter celebrations, and were a prized gift for children and servants.
Nowadays, we’re most familiar with chocolate Easter eggs. Dating back to the 19th century, they were propelled into the mainstream when John Cadbury, the famous English chocolatier, introduced them in England in 1875.
Another typical Easter food is lamb. Christians believe that Jesus’s last supper would have included lamb as part of the Passover meal, so it is an important tradition to mark the resurrection. Jesus was also referred to as the ‘lamb of God’, so it is fitting that this dish is served at Easter celebrations.
In days gone by, lamb would have also been the first fresh meat to be available after a long winter with no livestock available to eat.
If you’re craving a lamb joint this Easter, head to your local Chef & Brewer and tuck into the slow-cooked lamb shoulder served with mashed potato, buttered seasonal veg and a rich red wine sauce.
Most of us receive at least one Easter card every year, but when did the custom begin?
Sending greeting cards for Easter didn’t emerge until the 1890s, when a stationer in Victorian England created a greeting card featuring a drawing of a rabbit.
According to the Greeting Card Association, the UK spends £1.4 billion a year on greeting cards - and the Easter card is surging in popularity.
Hot cross buns are a typical Easter treat, but they were first intended to be eaten on Good Friday.
The custom of eating hot cross buns on Friday originates from the Elizabethan era, when Queen Elizabeth I passed a law decreeing that the sale of buns, spiced cakes, bread and biscuits in London was limited to funerals and the Friday before Easter and Christmas.
Traditionally, hot cross buns are made with currants, raisins, spices and candied fruit, and a pastry cross on the top of the bun reflects Christian symbolism.
Nowadays, you can buy chocolate and orange, cheese and onion, and cherry Bakewell variations. If all this talk of buns is making your mouth water, take a look at our dessert menu.