Where does the Easter bunny come from? What religious and springtime traditions became associated with Easter Sunday, and why?
Whether you’re brushing up on general knowledge to answer inquisitive young minds or to show off in front of the in-laws, we’ve got you covered.
Follow the trail of bunny prints to 10 interesting Easter facts and statistics, from Easter eggs and baskets to the Easter bunny himself. Get frolicking and understand this popular springtime family holiday better.
Top 10 Fun Facts About Easter
Take a look at some unique facts about Easter that stand out over the rest.
- Two-and-a-half billion dollars is spent on chocolate at Easter time.
- The first chocolate egg was made in Bristol, England, in 1873.
- In Sweden, the Easter rooster delivers Easter eggs, not the Easter bunny.
- The Easter bunny originated in Germany and was brought to the US in the 18th century.
- Cadbury began making chocolate eggs in 1875 and currently manufactures 1.5 million creme eggs every day.
- The first Easter basket looked like a bird’s nest with eggs placed inside.
- An estimated 100,000 Catholics go to St. Peter’s Square in Rome for the Pope’s Easter Mass.
- More than 40 million Easter cards are posted annually to family and friends.
- A Fabergé Egg is considered the most expensive Easter egg ever, valued at $33 million.
- Though lamb was the traditional Easter meal, Americans started eating ham that was cured over the winter.
Pondering which fact about Easter is true? We’ve got you covered. These Easter stats include stories about history, religious traditions, and facts for kids, including about Easter eggs.
Easter Facts for Kids
1. Sprinkle Poems
In Hungary, little boys (and sometimes men) sprinkle perfume or water over girls’ heads on the Monday after Easter. They call the weird ritual the “sprinkling.” It’s better than the original tradition, which included dumping cold water over the girl’s head. That was called a “sprinkle poem,” which woke them up for sure.
2. The Easter Basket
The first Easter basket looked more like a bird’s nest with eggs placed inside. Easter used to focus more on the coming of spring, so the Easter basket was a collection of eggs to encourage fertility. In medieval times, Easter baskets with eggs were brought to be blessed by the church instead of given out at home.
3. #1 Jelly Bean
A funny bit of information: Red jelly beans are more popular than any other color. They have been synonymous with Easter for a long time and are just as recognizable as chocolate bunnies. They began as “penny candy” in glass jars found at grocery and candy stores. In the 1930s, jelly beans were added to Easter baskets because they resembled Easter eggs.
4. How Many Peeps
A massive 700 million marshmallow Peeps are sold every year and are a favorite in Easter baskets (1). The peeps are made from soft marshmallows and are shaped like baby chicks and bunnies to help celebrate springtime. Don’t let your peeps stick around too long, though. They are known to get hard when stale and lose their soft texture.
5. Easter Songs
Traditional Easter songs include “The Easter Parade” and “Here Comes Peter Cottontail.” Both kids and adults enjoy the tunes around the springtime holiday. “The Easter Parade” was written by Irving Berlin and came out in 1933, even though he originally wrote the tune in 1917.
6. Easter Cards
Forty million Easter cards are sent out each year to both family and friends (2). It’s easy for kids to make their own cards shaped like an Easter egg. They’re decorated with crayons, paints, stickers, and glitter for a card they won’t forget.
7. Hot Potato (Egg)
In the Middle Ages, priests played an Easter game similar to Hot Potato. They would toss a hard-boiled egg to a choir boy, who would have to toss it to another, and so on. They kept at the game until midnight when the boy holding the egg was allowed to eat it.
8. (Lots Of) Easter Bunnies
Easter facts and statistics often revolve around rabbits, who can have up to 12 babies at a time. Their pregnancy period is 31 days, so they are known for the many baby bunnies able to be produced. Rabbits have become a symbol of Easter since they represent the abundance of new life that spring brings.
9. Fill up the Basket
More than 91 million chocolate bunnies are sold every Easter in the U.S. Sixteen million jelly beans are bought to include in Easter baskets too, so we’re not shy about our love for chocolate, candy, and Easter treats all around. Parents aren’t shy either, since 81% of parents admit to sneaking candy from their children’s Easter baskets (3).
10. A Different Kind of Easter
In Bermuda, people make and enjoy cod fish cakes served on hot cross buns for Easter. They’re also big fans of flying kites on Easter weekend. Good Friday in Bermuda is known as the “kite day” and is said to symbolize Christ’s resurrection. It’s a unique way of celebrating the coming of spring too.
Religious Facts About Easter
1. The Easter Pretzel
In the Middle Ages, pretzels were associated with Easter in Germany and were served with hard-boiled eggs in the center. The shape of the pretzel was supposed to look like arms folded in prayer. The hard-boiled eggs that were nestled inside were symbols of Christ’s resurrection and rebirth.
2. Red Easter Eggs
Easter eggs are painted red in both the Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Churches to signify the blood of Christ. The eggshell is a symbol of the sealed Tomb of Christ. Cracking the eggshell open represents Christ’s ascension from the tomb. Some families eat eggs as an after-dinner snack.
3. Good Friday
You may wonder which fact about Easter is true. Good Friday is believed to be a religious day of fasting in many cultures. This is correct, but later it became a Christian tradition to eat fish and not meat on Good Friday to honor Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross.
4. Easter Mass
Fifty-thousand Catholics traveled to St. Peter’s Square in Rome for the Pope’s Easter Mass in 2022 (4). The Mass takes place in the basilica from 10:15 am until noon, with the Pope at its center. Though the massive crowds can make the journey difficult, pilgrims don’t have to pay anything to hear this special Easter Mass.
5. Palm Sunday
Palm Sunday takes place on the Sunday before Easter. It’s the day when Christians believe Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey. The ride is often re-enacted and includes people gathered together who hold palm branches. The palms are symbols of victory, peace, and eternal life and are the start of Holy Week, which ends on Easter.
6. A Christian Holiday
You don’t have to be an expert on Bible facts to know Easter is considered the oldest and most important Christian holiday. Early Christians celebrated the resurrection of Jesus Christ every single Sunday with a mass. In the 2nd century, Christians officially declared an annual Sunday as a holiday to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection.
7. Easter Lilies
The Easter lily is a white flower that has been a symbol of purity, rebirth, and hope. It became the official flower to represent the resurrected Jesus Christ on Easter. In Pagan customs, the white lily represented motherhood and was still a sign of purity and grace that easily made its way into the Christian religion.
8. Easter Faith
Sixty-three percent of Americans identify as Christians (5). Eighty percent of Americans celebrate Easter every year. Thirty-six percent of Catholics planned to attend church for Easter in 2021. Fifty-eight percent revealed they would normally attend church on Easter Sunday if not for the pandemic (6).
9. Polish Easter
In Polish folklore, the Virgin Mary offered eggs to the soldiers posted at the site where Christ died on the cross. The story says that her tears fell onto the eggs and left stains, which is why Easter eggs are decorated every year.
Lent is the six-week period that leads up to Easter. Lent is a solemn time for Christians that begins on Ash Wednesday and concludes on Easter Sunday. Lent used to always involve fasting, but nowadays usually includes giving up one indulgence during the six-week period.
Facts About Easter Eggs
1. The Original Chocolate Egg
The first chocolate eggs were made in the 19th century, but it’s not known whether that was in France or Germany. The first chocolate egg in the UK was manufactured in Bristol, England, in 1873 by J.S. Fry & Sons. In 1875, Cadbury then created the chocolate Easter egg using ingredients that included pure cocoa butter. This allowed the chocolate egg to be formed into the famous egg shape (7).
2. Ukrainian Pysanka
Decorating Easter eggs in Ukraine has been a cultural tradition for multiple centuries. Their Easter eggs are called Pysanka and once acted as offerings to the gods for health, happiness, and even fertility. Pysanka means “to write,” and the tradition involves hollowing out the egg and painting it with bright colors.
3. Biggest Easter Egg Hunt
According to the Guinness World Records, the largest-ever Easter egg hunt took place at Cypress Gardens Adventure Park in Winter Haven, Florida. It took place in 2007 and included 9,753 children and an amazing 501,000 eggs (8).
4. The First Easter Bunny
The Easter bunny originated in Germany and arrived with German immigrants to the United States during the 18th century. The Easter bunny was called the Easter Hare by German Lutherans and was originally more of a judge of character. He determined whether they were good or naughty, much like Santa Claus, and brought candies and sweets with him.
5. World’s Largest Easter Egg
The world’s largest Easter egg can be found in Vegreville, Alberta, Canada. It weighs a whopping 1,500 pounds and is decorated like a Ukrainian “Pysanka,” painted with intricate designs (9). It also spins around and acts like the world’s prettiest weather vane for those who see it.
6. Which Chocolate Wins
When it comes to chocolate at Easter, milk chocolate is the most popular choice. Nearly half of Americans (49%) prefer milk chocolate the most, while just over one-third (34%) like dark chocolate the best. Only 11% of U.S. adults consider white chocolate their favorite variety (10).
7. The Fabregé Egg
The most expensive Easter eggs in history can be traced back to the Russian royal family. The most expensive of the 50 Russian Fabergé Eggs disappeared before showing up at a British antique dealer in 2014. The egg’s value was thought to be around 33 million dollars, which beat out the eggs we dye ourselves (11).
8. The Tallest Egg
The world’s tallest Easter egg was found in Italy in 2011. It stood 34 feet high and weighed over 15,000 pounds. This Easter egg isn’t as tall as one found in Miramar, Argentina, in 2019. It was created by pastry chef Walter Aragonés, measured 34 and a half feet high, and made an appearance at the annual Easter Fair (12).
9. Coloring Easter Eggs
People used to dye their Easter eggs with natural ingredients, like onion skins, beets, and purple cabbage. Today, over 10 million dye kits using color tablets and white vinegar are sold every year (13). Others still prefer to dye their Easter eggs naturally using items like coffee, red onion, turmeric, blueberries, and chili powder.
10. Favorite Easter Egg Filling
Fun facts about Easter tell us that over half of Americans prefer peanut butter-filled eggs most. The runners-up include caramel and chocolate-filled eggs. It turns out that most people prefer filled Easter eggs to ones simply made of solid or hollow chocolate (14).
History of Easter Trivia – And Traditions
1. When is Easter?
The date of Easter changes every year but always falls on the first Sunday after the full moon in March. Easter always takes place sometime between March 22 and April 25. Sometimes, it feels very spring-like, and other times like the last days of winter aren’t yet behind us.
2. The Easter Goddess
A bit of trivia reveals that the name of Easter is derived from the pagan goddess Ēostre. She was both a fertility goddess and a goddess of the dawn and light. The goddess was symbolized by a rabbit or a hare, which may be an even more ancient association with the Easter bunny.
3. Lamb vs. Ham
Though lamb was the traditional Easter meal, Americans started eating ham that was cured over the winter. Pork is more popular in the U.S. than lamb. This is proven by the fact that Americans eat less than a pound of lamb a year. Ham varieties include honey-baked, glazed, country, and smoked varieties.
4. Easter Best
In the 19th century, New York City residents thought buying new clothes for Easter would bring good luck all year long. Today, about 3.3 billion dollars is spent on Easter suits, dresses, and bonnets (15).
5. L’Easter Omelet
On Easter Monday, the people of Bessières, France, have made a giant omelet since 1973. The omelet is made with 15,000 fresh eggs (16). The story behind this massive omelet involves Napoleon and his army, who spent one night in Bessières. Chances are, it took place around Easter and they ate an omelet!
6. State Holidays
Good Friday takes place two days before Easter. U.S. states, including New Jersey, Connecticut, and Texas, have officially named it a state holiday (17). Good Friday is not yet considered an American federal holiday, so it’s all down to how it’s regarded locally.
7. Pagan Roots
Easter was likely built upon pagan traditions that celebrate rebirth and fertility. Many ancient civilizations had a feast day to honor the coming of spring. These themes of renewal were transformed into the Christian belief of resurrection. Rituals like the Easter bunny, baskets with eggs, and even Easter egg hunts have roots in paganism.
8. Easter Candy
Easter is the second biggest holiday for the sale of candy after Halloween. Almost two-thirds of Americans (65%) consider Easter candy their favorite throughout the year’s holidays. Over half of Americans (57%) believe Easter candy is better than Halloween candy (18).
9. Swedish Easter Rooster
In Sweden, the Easter rooster delivers Easter eggs, not the Easter bunny. Easter Sunday is called Påskdagen, but it’s on Maundy Thursday (Skärtorsdagen) when Swedish children dress up like Easter witches (påskkärringar). They go door to door wishing people a happy Easter in hopes of getting some candy (19).
10. Easter (Christmas) Tree
Some Germans mark Easter by burning their Christmas trees, celebrating the end of winter and the onset of spring. The bonfires are called Osterfeuer and take place the Saturday night before Easter Sunday. They often include food and beverage stands and even carnival rides for kids (20).