From the original Pagan tradition, through Christian religious festival to the modern Easter Egg Hunt with chocolate eggs, the links between the idea of the egg and the idea of rebirth have been around for a very long time.
Why do we have Easter Egg hunts?
The first mention of an Easter Egg Hunt was reported as being a game played by Martin Luther, the Protestant reformer, and his friends and colleagues in the 15th-16th century. The idea of an egg as the tomb from which Christ emerged after his resurrection in Christian theology was certainly around well before then, but this was the first time any writings mention something we might consider an "Easter Egg Hunt".
These hunts, and the similar traditions of egg rolling and egg tapping, used dyed or painted chicken eggs instead of the modern chocolate variety. Some people think that eggs, as well as drawing from earlier Pagan traditions where they symbolised the Earth and Spring, were important as they were forbidden food during Lenten, and were thus well worth celebrating when they could be eaten again over Easter!
Fun Facts About Easter Egg Hunts
Did you know?
- The idea of the Easter Bunny first spread from the Osterhase (a mythical egg-laying hare) tradition of German immigrants in America in the 1700s.
- The word "Easter" likely comes from the Teutonic spring goddess Eostre, from whence the tradition of the egg-laying hare first came.
- The largest Easter Egg ever made weighed over 8000 pounds! It was 25 feet high and had to be supported with a steel frame inside it.
- The White House Egg Roll is an Easter tradition in the US, where children push decorated eggs around the White House garden.
- The first chocolate Easter Eggs only date back to 19th century Europe - before that, decorated chicken eggs were used. Modern chocolate manufacturers though, were quick to jump on board!
Easter Egg Hunts in London
If all you're looking for is some fun things to do in London at Easter, we've got you covered. Here are some of the capital's best Easter attractions:
Battersea Park Zoo's Easter Fun
Running from the 4th-14th of April, there's plenty of time to get down to Battersea Park Zoo for some Easter Fun. The zoo is running several "Egg-stravaganza" (we like what they did there!) days on Tuesday 4th and Thursday 6th April with eggs to be spotted inside the animals' enclosures. Friday 14th is Easter Bunny Day, where kids can play with real rabbits while wearing their own fluffy rabbit ears!
London Bridge City Easter Egg TrailThis sounds like a great day out for children and young families! Featuring actors playing fun characters, interesting little games, and - of course - some chocolate eggs, you'll need to register in advance for the historic London Bridge's City Easter Egg Trial.
Moomin Adventures at Kew Gardens
Everybody loves the Moomins! Especially the folks over at Kew Gardens. You can find the chubby little nature-lovers in the gardens between the 7th and 17th of April - it's one of the best things to do in London over the Easter weekend! With craft workshops, rare flowers to view, and Finnish pancakes on offer to celebrate the cartoon's origins, there's a lot going on in the capital's very own Moomin Valley.
National Trust Easter Egg Hunts
You'll find most National Trust properties in London are running Easter Egg Hunts over the Easter weekend. The Trust is partnering up with Cadbury's to ensure the presence of tasty chocolate eggs, and you can find out more about which properties are running hunts over on the Cadbury's website. Some of the best ones are Fenton House, Sutton House, Red House (and there's a wombat trail here!)
For more information about any Easter Egg Hunt in London, head on over to any of the capital's great tourist websites.