Easter traditionally marks the coming of Spring (in the Northern hemisphere at least) and is celebrated across many faiths and cultures, notably by Catholic and Orthodox Christians, for whom Easter is associated with the resurrection of Christ.
But Easter’s traditions are much older, drawing its roots from Pesach (Jewish Passover) and before that, the pagan rites and rituals that celebrated the Spring equinox as a sacred time.
Eggs and bread are specifically shared at Easter time, symbolising renewal and rebirth and are at the heart of simple foods that sustain and nourish us.
Passover has its own food traditions with a prohibition on leavened (risen through fermentation) products and ingredients, most notably breads. In its place, the tasty, biscuit-like, crunchy, unleavened ‘matzo’ is a favourite substitute.
In Greek Orthodox celebrations ‘tsoureki’ bread containing brightly coloured eggs is served, and in Christianity the hot-cross bun is an Easter favourite, so much so that it enters stores two months before Easter occurs.
The iconic chocolate egg is another recognisable part of Easter, though not all Easter eggs are made of chocolate. The Greek Orthodox and many Central and Eastern European Christians dye and paint eggs as part of their Easter celebrations.