Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shoreAndre Gide
I’m not huge on Easter, but I am huge on travel (duh) and fun facts. Easter is undoubtedly a global phenomenon now, but it’s made its way around the world in many ways outside of religion as well. From Cadbury eggs to traditional practices, the Easter holiday is everywhere.
The facts below are just my way of bringing fun facts to your long, holiday weekend. Whether you celebrate Easter or are just enjoying an extra day off of work I hope you have a fantastic weekend!
1. The Legend of the Easter Bunny
It began in Germany! Bunnies have no religious connection to the holiday (much like Santa and Christmas), but they are now inseparable from the holiday. For real, don’t try to tell kids they can’t hunt for eggs and get candy from the Easter bunny. You might not survive.
Dating back to pre-Christian times, the rabbit is a pagan symbol of spring and fertility. As Christianity took hold across Europe the pagan melded with the new religion and the tradition of rabbits and eggs continues today!
2. A Literal Mountain of Cadbury Eggs
Did you know that 1.5 million Cadbury eggs are produced each day in the Birmingham (England) factory each day? They are the world’s most popular egg-shaped chocolate treat! Did you also know that the 500 million Cadbury eggs produced each year are 10x taller than Mount Everest if stacked on top of each other?
“Alexa, add more chocolate to my grocery list”.
3. Decorating Eggs Originated in Eastern Europe
Sorry Easter, decorating eggs originated 3-5 millennia B.C.E in Ukraine. The tradition of painted eggs, known as pysanka, is a cultural tradition originating with the Slavic cultures WAY before Christianity and Easter were even a thought.
In Ukraine, decorated eggs feature folk designs using a wax-resist method. The designs are often inscribed with beeswax instead of painted on like the American version of this today. These aren’t your average kids’ craft either. The decorations are intricate and infused with meaning. They. Are. Gorgeous!
4. Canada is Home to the Largest Easter Egg
Need a 5,000 pound egg? Canada decided it did. Weighing in at 5,000 pounds is just the beginning. It stands 31ft tall and 18ft wide in Alberta, Canada. It’s official name is the Vegreville Pysanka (guess where that came from? See you’re learning!) and it took over 12,000 hours to complete.
The egg itself is a jigsaw-puzzle like statue that features 3,500 pieces of aluminum pieced together to create this gigantic egg.
5. Pretzels Used to Be an Easter Tradition
I’m sad this isn’t a thing anymore. Before the 1960s, it was common for Easter-celebrating Germans to munch on pretzels and a hard boiled egg on Good Friday. In a country known for its beer and beer cheese, are we surprised? No.
The twists of the pretzel were thought to resemble the cross and were thus served at dinner. Now, they’re just a delicious snack. Maybe we can bring back this tradition? Please?
6. Don’t Get Blown Away in Bermuda
Bermuda takes Good Friday to another level, literally and figuratively. Kite Fest is an annual Easter tradition on the island and isn’t to be missed. Homemade kites with bold designs and colors will make you peel your eyes away from the gorgeous waters to watch the skies.
It’s believed this unique tradition originated with a teacher explaining the ascension of Jesus to his students in a creative way. Everyone loved it so much that the one-time explanation grew into a country-wide phenomenon.
7. An Explosion of Color in Guatemala
Picture colorful carpets made of sawdust, flowers, fruits, sand, and more. Now picture those vibrant colors arranged in delicate and intricate designs. Antigua literally carpets sections of the city with unique designs each Easter.
Local artists spend many hours dreaming and crafting these works of art. Many have religious symbolism and many show respect for their Mayan heritage, Guatemalan history, and/or nature.
8. The Easter Bunny, but with a Twist
The rabbit is an invasive and destructive animal in Australia, so celebrating them during Easter is a bit problematic. Since 1991, organizations across the country convinced the chocolate companies to change their chocolate Easter bunnies to chocolate Easter bilbies.
What’s even better than another variation of chocolate? All of the proceeds from chocolate bilby sales go towards helping endangered animals.
9. The Biggest Omelet You Could Ever Want
This tradition is egg-tastic. In the town of Haux in France a gigantic tradition was born thanks to Napoleon. Each year 15,000 eggs are cracked and thrown in a pan to make the world’s biggest omelet every Easter. It feeds up to 1,000 people so make sure you aren’t late to the line.
History knows Napoleon traveled through this area of France and one publication reported he stopped in Haux with his army more omelets. (Breakfast is still important during a war). Napoleon loved his egg breakfast so much that he ordered the entire town to bring ALL of their eggs and make giant omelets for his army the next day.
10. Egg Passing During Medieval Times
What might possibly be considered the worst game ever originated during the Medieval Era in Europe. A priest would have choir boys stand in a circle and pass a hard boiled egg back to one another. For hours. They would pass the egg until midnight chimed and the boy holding the egg was allowed to eat it.
Why? I honestly have no idea. Luckily, this tradition died out. I can’t see this making a comeback…thank goodness.
11. Italy has Easter Egg Bragging Rights Too
Measuring 34 feet high and boasting a 64 foot circumference at its widest point, my chocolate dreams became reality in 2011 in Italy. The largest chocolate egg on record was made in Cortenuova. At almost 16,000 lbs of delicious chocolate, this extravagant confection set a world record.
To put that in perspective, an African male elephant weighs approximately 16,300 pounds. Anyone else want to snag a piece of an almost-elephant-sized Easter egg?