Easter eggs in Russia and UK

Eggs are irreplaceable part of Easter celebrations. Whilst Brits love their chocolate eggs, Russians are all about the hard-boiled eggs painted in various bright colours. But why do we eat eggs, chocolate or not, during the Easter festives? What other Easter foods, both in Britain and Russia, are there?

Pagan origins

Easter (Пасха) is a religious holiday, but some of its customs, such as decorating and eating Easter eggs are likely to come to us from the pagan traditions. An egg, being an ancient symbol of new life, has long been associated with pagan celebrations of spring. Eggs have always thought to be special as they are not alive, yet they have life within them, especially in spring when chicks hatch out.

Christian meaning and Easter bunny

According to the Christian beliefs, Easter eggs represent Jesus’ emergence from the tomb and resurrection, whilst decorating eggs for Easter is a tradition that dates back to centuries ago.

As for the Easter bunny – he was reportedly introduced to Americans in 1700s by the German immigrants who brought over the stories of an egg-laying hare. The legend has it that the Easter bunny brings baskets filled with coloured eggs, candy, and sometimes toys to the children’s homes on the night before Easter, in a similar way as Santa Claus delivers presents on Christmas Eve. The Easter Bunny will either put the baskets in a certain designated place or hide them somewhere in the house or garden for the children to find once they wake up in the morning. This tradition has its own name – the Easter egg hunt. Obviously, none of this is mentioned in the Bible.

Meanwhile, Russians do not have an Easter Bunny.

Traditional Easter dishes

Traditionally, eggs were boiled, painted and decorated. Russians still do so, whilst Brits prefer the sweet version – chocolate eggs, which is a relatively new tradition. It is believed that the first chocolate Easter eggs were made in Germany and France at the beginning of the 19th century. In UK it was J.S. Fry & Sons chocolate and confectionery manufacturer, that made the very first chocolate egg with Cadbury’s making their version two years later. Many chocolate companies followed the steps shortly after.

Let’s, though, return to Russians. Apart from the boiled eggs, Russian Easter foods consist of kulich (кулич) and paskha (пасха). Kulich is a sweet bread made with various spices and orange peel. It has also got icing and sprinkles on top and is shaped in a form of cylinder, whilst paskha is made out of cottage cheese and has a shape of a pyramid. Kulichi and paskha are often taken to the church to get blessed before eating.

Meanwhile, Brits eat cross buns on a Good Friday – spiced sweet buns made with currants or raisins and marked with a cross on the top. Moreover, there is a delicious Simnel cake – light fruit cake with two layers of almond paste or marzipan.

What a sweet holiday!

Happy Easter everyone!

Team EBC