Easter eggs: Why do we eat them every year?

Easter eggs.
Chocolate was not always the gift given at Easter. (Getty Images)

Chocolate is one of the treats we most look forward to at Easter time (and all year round), but have you ever wondered what it has to do with the holiday and the resurrection of Christ?

According to confectionary company Cadbury, eggs are symbolic of fertility, rebirth and the beginning.

“With the rise of Christianity in Western Europe, the church adapted many pagan customs and the egg, as a symbol of new life, came to represent the resurrection,” Cadbury explains in its 'History of Easter' fact sheet.

“Some Christians regarded the egg as a symbol for the stone being rolled from the sepulchre.”

According to Cadbury, chocolate was not always the gift given at Easter and people were originally given decorated hen or duck eggs. It's hard to imagine swapping these round with family now.

Toys shaped like eggs were introduced in the 17th and 18th centuries, with some filled with chocolates (no doubt, much to people's delight).

This then led to the development of chocolate eggs, now responsible for the Easter eggs we see displayed in our supermarkets sometimes as early as the start of the year.

Cadbury Twisted Creme Egg candy in womans hand with background of Cadbury candies. (Getty Images)
Creme egg flavour is one of Cadbury's more modern favourites. (Getty Images)

Read more: Easter eggs: How many calories are in your favourite?

“Chocolate Easter eggs were first made in Europe in the early 19th century, with France and Germany taking the lead in this new artistic confectionary,” Cadbury explains.

“Some early eggs were solid as the technique for mass-producing moulded chocolate had not been devised.

“The production of the first hollow chocolate eggs must have been painstaking as the moulds were lined with paste chocolate one at a time.”

Cadbury says on its website its earliest chocolate eggs were made of dark chocolate and filled with sugared almonds.

It claims the launch of dairy milk chocolate in 1905 led to the popularity of Easter eggs.

What Cadbury egg will you be gorging on this Easter?

Watch: Chocolatiers create Easter display at Cadbury World