How many of us have been enjoying a toasted hot cross bun today? Or perhaps you started the morning with a traditional hard boiled egg? Are you rolling out the marzipan for the family Simnel cake or off to the supermarket to choose your lamb for Sunday?
Easter brings together many faiths in remembrance and celebration of Jesus's sacrifice. Good Friday marks the beginning of the Easter weekend, which in addition to a couple of days off for many is traditionally accepted as the day of Jesus's crucifixion.
But what are the meanings behind the food we enjoy at this time of the year?
How many of us indulge in a chocolate egg? Did you know that the egg is a symbol not only of fertility and new life but is also linked to the 'Festival Sacrifice' which was brought to the Temple of Jerusalem and is marked in the Jewish tradition at the feast of Passover.
So what is the story of the chocolate Easter egg? The first chocolate eggs in Britain were produced by Fry's of Union Street, Bristol in 1873. Since then they have become one of, if not the most recognised Easter delicacy, with chocolatiers the world over inviting us to celebrate a successful Lent by indulging in their creations. Godiva chocolatiers produce a showstopper egg each year which is month's in the planning. This year's spectacle is a celebration of butterflies, carefully protected by the shell of a giant Easter egg. The skill involved in chocolate making is indisputable with some creations truly beyond words and budgets... The most expensive chocolate eggs I have found are crafted by Choccywoccydoodah at the princely sum of £25,000 each (Faberge inspiring more than just the designs in this instance!)
Another favourite the hot cross bun is covered in symbolism. We are used to seeing the cross, a clear reference to the one Jesus carried to Golgotha. But the meaning behind these Easter favourites can be cited to Pagan traditions as well and the Goddess Eostre. On her website Miss Food Wise, Regula Ysewijn explains the four segments of the bun represent the four seasons of the year with the overall shape being symbolic of the wheel of life. Showing us that some of the simplest designs can make the greatest impact.
The traditional Easter Sunday lamb has a variety of interpretations depending upon which tradition you follow as well. It has long been eaten by members of the Jewish faith at Passover. In the Christian faith, Jesus is often called 'The Lamb of God' so as Jesus himself was sacrificed so is his death remembered with sharing of roast lamb on Easter Sunday.
As is the case with so many religious festivals, there is a strong connection between the act of remembrance and artistic expression; from homemade Easter decorations to the exquisite crafts behind egg making. But ultimately Easter is a time to come together, in celebration and in thanks.
However you are choosing to mark the occasion, we wish all of our readers a VERY HAPPY AND PEACEFUL EASTER WEEKEND!