Posted in Kafevend Blog
With Easter Sunday coming up in a few days, those folks who have managed to stick to their vows throughout Lent may well be either sighing with relief, or alternatively getting ready to test their newfound will power a little further and refraining from the multitude of foods that are synonymous with the day. We must admit that we'll be joining the former group and enjoying some Easter treats, and thought we might take a look at a few of them for today's blog.
It seems only right to start off with Easter eggs, given that they're named after the day. Decorating eggs by using dyes and paints, amongst other materials, has been going on for a very long while, predating their use in Christianity by thousands of years. Eggs have long been associated with new life and rebirth, and so Christianity adopted this traditional symbol and adapted it to represent the resurrection of Christ.
The chocolate Easter egg is a relative newcomer, but there is no doubting its popularity. First appearing in the early 19th century, it was normally a solid egg. Hollow ones were also made, but the technique used was time consuming and painstaking. The first chocolate eggs in the UK were made by J.S. Fry in 1873, with Cadbury following a couple of years later. Of course, these days we're spoilt for choice when it comes to chocolate eggs.
Those of you who want something special a little sooner than Easter Sunday can tuck into hot cross buns, which are traditionally eaten today, Good Friday. Like Easter eggs, hot cross buns actually have their origins tied to pagan beliefs. The pagan goddess Eostre, which is where the name Easter comes from, was offered cakes during spring festivals. The word bun itself is thought to be derived from the Greek boun, which was a small ceremonial cake offered to their gods. Nowadays Easter buns are decorated with a cross for obvious reasons and it gives them their name.
We've managed to develop our own traditions over the years concerning hot cross bun, most of them to do with protective qualities. For example, one belief is that hanging a bun baked on Good Friday in your kitchen will protect you from bad luck for the year- whether its powers will affect you wherever you go, or if it's limited to the kitchen, we don't know!
The final item on our list is the Simnel cake. This is a fruit cake sporting two layers of marzipan- one in the middle, and another on top. Its most defining characteristic however is the tradition of placing marzipan balls on top of the cake: either eleven representing the apostles minus Judas, or twelve representing the addition of Jesus. Originally, Simnel cake was a feature of Laetare or Mothering Sunday in the middle of Lent when the fast would be relaxed. Over time however, Simnel cake has come to be associated more with Easter Sunday.
Whether you intend to indulge yourself a little or stick to your guns, we hope you have a good weekend and a Happy Easter!