For many, Easter is as much fun as Christmas and it is, in fact, the most popular church day of the year.
Easter is a sociable time, of feasting and fun, as well as reflection and spending lots of well-deserved quality time with loved ones. It’s all about playing games and eating way too much food and then perhaps an egg hunt in the garden and a spot of fresh air with a country walk to take in the wonderful spring flowers.
Just like at Christmas, we bring the outside in with beautiful Easter wreaths and vases overflowing with spring blooms. There are lots of fun Easter crafts too, such as painting eggs, decorating baskets for egg hunts and making beautiful Easter bonnets. Of course, there’s the visit from the Easter Bunny to look out for and the wonderfully ‘egg-citing’ and often competitive egg hunt that follows.
Here we bring you some surprising things that you perhaps did not know about this wonderful time of year that is best spent relaxing with friends and family.
- The name ‘Easter’ comes from the goddess name Eostre, who was the Anglo-Saxon goddess of spring. She symbolised the awakening of the countryside after winter! Today, over Easter each child in the UK gobbles up on average 8.8 chocolate Easter eggs – that is 2x the recommended calorie intake for a whole week! We’re not counting though.
- Unlike Christmas, which falls every year on December 25, Easter Sunday rather unusually lands on a different date each year. This festival is celebrated on the date of the first moon after March 21 (spring equinox) and always falls between March 22 and April 25. Did you know that this Easter, because Easter Sunday falls on April 12, you can enjoy 10 days annual leave between Friday April 10 and Sunday April 19 2020 with only using four days holiday?
- As we know, Easter Sunday is a festival first started many, many years ago (in 325, to be precise) to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. But, did you know that the painting and dying of eggs is to represent the blood of Jesus. We like using red onion skins to dye our boiled eggs before hosting our very own egg rolling competition in the garden. The largest in the world takes place at The White House!
- Easter eggs symbolise the empty tomb of Jesus, and Cadbury were actually beaten by little-known Bristol-based JS Fry in making the first chocolate egg in the UK in 1873. It was hand-made but made from dark chocolate and so nothing like today’s scrummy Dairy Milk eggs. Prior to chocolate eggs, hen or duck eggs decorated with vegetable and charcoal dye were given to children as gifts! Victorian children received cardboard eggs, covered in satin, with the chocolate or little gifts inside. The sickly but moreish Cadbury Creme Egg was first introduced in 1963 and in 2014 Miki Sudo broke the world record, consuming the equivalent to 4 days of calories in 6 minutes 15 seconds devouring 50 cream eggs. How many can you eat?
- Simnel Cake is the cake traditionally eaten at Easter it is made of light fruit cake, with two layers of delicious marzipan. The cake is then topped with eleven marzipan balls representing the eleven apostles of Christ, minus Judas, and it is eaten in the pre-Easter period. For your 2020 Easter, why not try a chocolate version of this famous cake.
- The Easter bonnet tradition represents the end of Easter and the 19th-century tradition of wealthy people wearing something new for spring after the day’s church services. Why not don your wonderful creations and take them on a wonderful parade along Tarn Hows or the beautiful scenic route along Ullswater’s eastern shore. Then, when back to your lodge host your very own competition with a ‘best overall bonnet’, ‘best man bonnet’, ‘best pet Easter bonnet’. The general rule seems to be the bigger and whackier, the better. But simple creations work well too, like a white baseball cap with ears or a cool Lake District herdy bonnet!
- Easter eggs are traditionally eaten to mark the end of Lent as they contain dairy products that were traditionally given up for Lent. The rarest and most expensive non-edible Easter eggs are the Russian Fabergé Eggs, a collection of 50 eggs owned by the Russian royal family in the 19th century. The hand-crafted, Belgium chocolate ‘Godiva Atelier Easter Egg’ is the world’s most expensive chocolate egg, with a cracking price tag of £10,000, and is surely the ultimate way of breaking Easter fasting! It is 1.5m tall and weighs 65kgs and the masterpiece took 200 hours to craft.
- There were 501,000 eggs hidden over the Cypress Gardens Adventure Park in Florida on 1 April 2007, making it the world’s largest egg hunt. Muncaster Castle lays claim to the Lake District’s largest egg hunt. How many can you hide in your garden or lodge park? We like to set fun obstacles like branches to balance on and muddy puddles to splash in, as part of our Easter egg hunts.
- As far back as the 12th century hot cross buns have been part of Easter celebrations, most strongly associated with the bank holiday of Good Friday. They were hung in the kitchen to warn off evil spirits and the most expensive one was bought for £155 in London in 1829! How much would you pay for a hot cross bun?
- The Easter Bunny has been part of the Easter celebrations since as far back as the 17th century, and represents new life. Similar to Father Christmas, the origin of the Easter Bunny’s connection to the Christian celebration of Easter Sunday is actually little-known (don’t tell anyone), but in Germany, in the 1600s a rabbit called ‘Oschter Haws’ or Easter hare, was thought to lay a nest of colourful eggs for children who were good. This is a lovely story and we’re not surprised it stuck! On the subject of lovely bunnies, did you know that Darius is the name of the world’s biggest bunny rabbit, who measures over 4ft long and weighs 3.5 stone? When you chomp into your chocolate bunny this Easter, where will you start? Apparently, 76% of us start with the floppy ears!
And while spending the Easter holidays at home this year, why not print out our Lake District Lodge Holidays Easter egg for the little ones to colour in, stick in your window to create your very own Easter Egg hunt for your community to enjoy!