Easter eggs are part of Irish life and have been for decades. However, Irish Easter eggs are different to the American variety.
In Ireland, an Easter egg is a hollow, chocolate shell, shaped like a large egg. Inside the egg, a packet of sweets or candy can usually be found.
In recent years, the candy is not always hidden inside the egg, but instead is packaged alongside foil covered chocolate eggs, in brightly decorated presentation boxes.
How Did Eggs Become Associated With Easter?:
Easter in Ireland is celebrated with Easter eggs for youngsters, and for the young at heart.
When I was growing up the Easter Bunny did not visit Ireland, but in recent years he has found his way to the Emerald Isle and has started leaving chocolate Easter Eggs for little ones to find on Easter Sunday morning.
But have you every wondered why Easter is associated with eggs?
Firstly, Easter is actually named after a pagan goddess of spring called 'Eostre.' As a result some of our traditional Easter foods, symbols, and many gifts have their roots in old Anglo Saxon fertility symbols.
The Irish adopted these symbols from our neighbors across the pond, and now celebrate Easter with chocolate Easter Eggs.
Easter egg painting is also associated with the fertility symbols of the goddess Eostre, as are the colors green and yellow which we now associate with Easter.
The Egg As A Christian Symbol Of Easter:
For Christians, Easter eggs are icons representing the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The Tomb of Christ is represented by the hard shell of an egg.
When an egg is cracked it is said to commemorate the resurrection of Jesus from His Tomb.
Egg rolling traditions, like the annual Easter Egg Roll on the White House Lawn each Monday after Easter, are a symbolic re-enactment of how the large stone outside the Tomb of Christ was rolled away on Easter Sunday morning.
In years gone by, Irish people and many Christians all over the world would abstain from eating eggs and meat during Lent.
Easter Sunday became the first opportunity to enjoy a few eggs for breakfast. After 40 long days of abstinence, eggs were a welcome addition to Easter morning breakfast plates.
Have you ever wondered why Easter Eggs are left by the Easter Bunny and not the Easter Hen or Chicken?
We have cleared up how the egg became associated with Easter, but how did a rabbit not a hen get linked to these eggs?
Let's face it, the Bible makes no references to a friendly, bushy-tailed rabbit helping roll back the stone for Jesus.
Nevertheless, the long-eared, short-tailed Easter bunny has become one of the most prominent symbols of Easter.
In America he delivers plastic eggs filled with candy, or brightly decorated eggs, to well-behaved children.
We may never know the exact origins of this tradition, but it is thought that since rabbits have big litters of baby bunnies, they too became associated with fertility and the Goddess Eostre, whose name also is the root of the word for the female hormone oestrogen.
Rabbits became a symbol of new life and thus became linked to Easter in centuries past in Europe. When the Easter Bunny lays, decorates and hides eggs, he is leaving a symbol of new life.
In other parts of Europe the bunny gets a little help from his animal friends. The cuckoo provides an egg delivery service in Switzerland, and in parts of Germany, the fox lends a helping paw.
The Easter bunny is thought to have first arrived in America in the 1700s when German immigrants arrived. Many settled in Pennsylvania and brought with them a tradition of an egg-laying Easter hare called “Osterhase,”
These German American children made nests at Easter time and the hare would deposit brightly colored eggs to be found on Easter morning. Easter egg hunts grew out of this tradition.
As this Easter Bunny tradition spread throughout American and Europe, his deliveries grew more and more lavish. He now brings Easter baskets, chocolate, candy and gifts.
The Easter Baskets of today replaced the original tradition of nests. Carrots are often left out Easter Saturday night, just in case the busy, hopping, jumping Easter Bunny needs some refreshment, as he delivers eggs all around the world.
In Ireland our Easter egg tradition revolves around chocolate eggs.
Children receive them from family, relatives, and friends to help celebrate this important feast day. In recent years, the Easter Bunny has started delivering these Irish chocolate eggs on Easter Sunday mornings.
Purchasing Irish Easter Eggs Online:
If you are interested in ordering Irish Easter Eggs online then I recommend Food Ireland.
They'll deliver directly to your home.
Here are some of their options:
I hope find your favorite variety here.
This is just a little selection of the eggs available through Food Ireland. Check out their website here for their full selection.
Have a very safe and happy Easter.
With every good wish from my home to yours.
Slán agus beannacht,
(Goodbye and blessings)
Irish American Mom
Disclosure Notice: This post contains affiliate links for Food Ireland, an online company for purchasing Irish food in America. This means I will earn a small commission if you purchase something from them through the links on my site. The price you pay will not be affected. These earnings help to keep the lights on in this little Irish corner of the internet. Many thanks for understanding... Read more here.
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