Since the dawn of time, the eggs, are a symbol of birth, and also symbolizes the rebirth of life at the beginning of spring. Easter is placed in this period, that is why eggs are extremely present. Rabbits, which reproduce a lot, early in the spring, are also a very old symbol of this time of year.
We know that in ancient Egypt and Persia, eggs were already decorated in the spring. The Celtic Druids dye eggs in red in the same period.
From Christian traditions to chocolate.
Christians have an additional reason to associate directly the eggs to Easter: during forty days before the Feast, the consumption of meat and eggs is theoretically forbidden, tradition that has been followed to the letter for centuries. But the hens are not Christian, and continue to lay. Arrive at Easter, people had to liquidate the stock, whose proteins became essential.
For a long time, in Europe, egg races are organized for children. The French tradition says that the bells, returning from pilgrimage to Rome, who dump them. That’s why the bells are also a symbol Easter. On the other hand, in Germanic regions of Western and Central Europe, like Germany, Alsace, Switzerland, or the Austro-Hungarian Empire, we find again the rabbits, or their cousins the hares, hiding eggs for the races.
Little by little, merchants seized these traditions, and made them tastier, by the contribution of the chocolate.
They have first emptied the eggs, then fill them of liquid chocolate. Then, in 1847, solid chocolate has been invented, and solid chocolate eggs appeared. After them, chocolate hens (as eggs makers), rabbits, bells, and (more recently) eggs-bunnies, appeared.
Eggs countries vs. Rabbit countries.
It is interesting to see which chocolate figure is more present in each language area. For that purpose, we have introduced the key words “chocolate Easter” in Google, in several languages. Curiously, bells are extremely few that are present, even in French speaking countries. Searching in that language, you find 2/3 of eggs, nearly 1/3 of rabbits, and few hens.
Let’s also see how much eggs (“oeufs”) and rabbits (“lapins”) Net-Veille finds in a perimeter made of 22 websites, being representative of the French retail, and how the figures evolves, while we are getting closer to Easter:
Graphic version is as follows:
Chocolate eggs and rabbits presence starts growing two month before Easter. Increasing acceleration some three weeks before, and shelves are completed only one week before. There are about three times more eggs than rabbits (and almost no hens nor bells).
The research of images in English, Spanish, and Russian gives a similar result than France.
You find a more balanced number of Rabbits and Eggs in Romanian.
In German, Hungarian, Czech, and also Polish, Rabbits are far more numerous than eggs. There is some hens in Polish. Remember that the rabbits hiding eggs are a German and Austro-Hungarian tradition. That’s one page of images you can find should you introduce “ostern schokolade” in Google:
On the contrary, in Italy, where eggs are often blessed in Easter, still today, and in the NL, you will hardly find a rabbit. Eggs are nearly omnipresent. Do you still think Europe is an homogeneous civilisation?