Fun Facts About Easter
Originally published 3/26/16
Do you know…
- The 10 things people most often give up for Lent?
- How many jelly beans, Peeps and eggs are sold in the United States each Easter?
- That Peeps used to have two wings?
- Why pretzels used to be associated with Easter?
For the answers to these questions and to learn more fun facts about Easter, continue reading.
Fun facts about Easter
- Easter, which celebrates Jesus Christ’s resurrection from the dead, is one of Christianity’s most important holiday.
- Easter is called a “moveable feast” because it does not fall on a set date each year.
- This holiday is celebrated on the first Sunday following a full moon which happens on or after March 21, the Spring (March) Equinox.
- The observation of Easter always falls between March 22nd and April 25th.
- Some sources say Easter is derived from Eostre, a Teutonic goddess of spring and fertility.
- In Spanish, Easter is known as Pascua; in French, Paques. These words are derived from the Greek and Latin Pascha or Pasch, for Passover.
- Lent, the 40-day period leading up to Easter Sunday, represents 40 days that Jesus spent alone in the wilderness before starting his ministry. For Christians, it is a time of reflection and penance.
- The 10 most popular things people give up for lent include alcohol, chocolate and sweets, cursing, Facebook, television, junk food, pop music, smoking, texting and gossiping.
- The week before Easter is called Holy Week and includes:
- Maundy Thursday, which honors Jesus’ last supper with his disciples.
- Good Friday, which honors the day of his crucifixion.
- Holy Saturday, which focuses on the transition between the crucifixion and resurrection.
- Palm Sunday (“Passion Sunday”), which represents the start of “Holy Week.” Palm Sunday honors the period when people covered Jesus’ path with palm branches as he returned to Jerusalem after knowing that he was going to be crucified. In present day, to honor this, Christians carry palms and hold church processions.
- Rabbits have been associated with Easter because they are prolific procreators and represent symbols of fertility and new life.
It is believed that the Easter bunny first arrived in America in the 1700s when German immigrants settled in Pennsylvania. With them, they brought their tradition of a colored-egg-laying hare called “Osterhase” or “Oschter Haws (Easter Hares).”
- The world’s largest rabbit is a five-year-old British Continental Giant named Darius who lives in the U.K. Darius the rabbit is a little over four-feet long and weighs in at a whopping 49 pounds.
- The Easter egg, another symbol of Easter, is thought by some to be linked to pagan traditions and festivals celebrating spring.
- Christians believe Easter eggs represent Jesus’ emergence from the tomb and resurrection.
- According to some sources, decorating eggs for Easter dates back to the 13th century when eggs were a forbidden food during the Lenten season. People would paint/decorate eggs to mark the end of Lent, then celebrate by eating the eggs on Easter Day.
- Each Easter, 79% of Americans dye Easter eggs and 71% hunt for real or candy-filled eggs.
- When it comes to filling plastic Easter eggs, 54% of Americans believe that the eggs should be filled with a mix of candy, coins and small toys, while 33% of people feel the eggs should only be filled with candy.
- The Easter flower is the white lily. It is considered to be a symbol of the resurrection. The lily also represents the spiritual essence of Easter: purity, virtue, innocence, hope and life.
- Despite a sales window of only two weeks, Easter lilies are the 4th largest crop in wholesale value in the United State’s potted plant market. Poinsettias rank first, mums ranked second, and azaleas rank third.
- The states producing the highest number of potted Easter lilies are Michigan, California, Pennsylvania and Ohio.
- All plants of the lily (Liliaceae) family are 100% toxic to domestic cats. The entire lily plant is toxic to cats – including the pollen, leaves, roots and petals.
- The Easter Parade And Bonnet Festival of New York City dates back to the mid-1800s, when members of the upperclass would attend Easter services at Fifth Avenue churches, and then gather outside to show off their new spring outfits and hats. The Easter Parade of New York City is still celebrate and this Easter Sunday, “paraders” will wander along Fifth Avenue from 49th to 57th Streets. The area around St. Patrick’s Cathedral is the ideal place to see the parade which runs from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.
- The first official White House Egg Roll occurred in 1878, when Rutherford B. Hayes was president. The event was not connected with religion, although some people consider egg rolling symbolic of the stone blocking Jesus’ tomb being rolled away, leading to his resurrection. This year, the 138th annual White House Easter Egg Roll will take place on Monday March 28, 2016 on the South Lawn. It is expected to attract 35,000 rollers.
- The largest Easter egg hunt consisted of 501,000 eggs that were searched for by 9,753 children and their parents at the Cypress Gardens Adventure Park in Winter Haven, Florida, USA, in 2007.
- The website, Easter Egg Hunts And Events, is a resource where you can find scheduled Easter Egg Hunts and Events in your area.
Candy and sweets
- Easter is the second largest candy-consuming holiday in America. Halloween is the first.
- Americans have a mega sweet tooth and spend an average of $1.9 billion on Easter candy every year.
- 77% of Americans buy or make an Easter basket for their children, often filling it with Easter candy and food. The most popular items included in Easter baskets include:
- Easter candy and chocolate (89%)
- Non-edible items such as crayons, stuffed animals, books, markers, movie passes, etc. (79%)
- Dark chocolate candy or chocolate with added fruits and nuts (46%)
- Snacks, such as granola bars or dried fruit (44%)
- Gum and mints (35%)
2) Jelly beans
- The egg-shaped candy, the jelly bean, became associated with Easter in the 1930s.
- According to the National Confectioners Association (NCA), over 16 billion jelly beans are made in the United States each year for Easter. This is enough jelly beans to completely fill a giant egg measuring 89 feet high and 60 feet wide (which is as high as a nine-story office building). If you lined 16 billion jelly beans side-by-side, they would circle the Earth nearly three times!
- There are two types of jelly beans: gourmet and traditional. Gourmet jelly beans are softer and smaller than traditional jelly beans and are flavored in both the shell and the middle. Traditional jelly beans typically contain flavor only in the shell.
- The world’s largest jar of jelly beans weighed 6,050 pounds.
- The world record for picking out all 50 Jelly Belly flavors from a two-pound bag is 55 seconds.
- The world record for distance a jelly bean has traveled after being launched from the nose is 10 feet.
- Jelly Belly makes 50 official flavors of jelly bean, from cantaloupe and butter popcorn to Cappuccino and Dr. Pepper but has other flavor lines such as Organic Jelly Beans, Jewel Bean Collection (has pearlescent sheen?!), Soda Pop Shoppe, BeanBoozled, Sport Beans, Cocktail Collection and more.
- The original eight flavors of Jelly Belly beans introduced in 1976 were:
- Cream soda
- Green apple
- Root beer
- Very cherry
- The Jelly Belly BeanBoozled Collection includes outrageous flavors such as:
- Canned Dog Food
- Moldy Cheese
- Skunk Spray
- Stinky Socks
- Jelly Belly’s blueberry flavor was created in 1981 for Ronald Reagan’s presidential inauguration when over three tons of Jelly Belly beans were consumed during the festivities.
- It takes 7 to 21 days to make a single Jelly Belly jelly bean.
- Kids prefer red, cherry-flavored jelly beans and 75% are willing to do extra chores for more Easter candy.
- National Jelly Bean Day is April 22.
3) Chocolate eggs
- The first Easter chocolate eggs were made in Germany in the 19th century and remain one of the most popular Easter candies today.
- The largest chocolate Easter egg was over 34 feet tall, weighed 15,873 pounds, 4.48 ounces and had a circumference of 64 feet, 3.65 inches at its widest point. It was made in Italy 2011.
4) Chocolate bunnies
- Over 90 million chocolate Easter bunnies are made each year.
- Bunny favorites:
- Solid chocolate bunnies are favored.
- Hollow chocolate bunnies place second.
- Marshmallow filled bunnies place third.
- Other Easter bunny candies place fourth.
- According to a 2014 NCA survey, when taking a bite into a chocolate bunny:
- 88.7% of Americans prefer to bite off the ears first.
- 6.6% of Americans eat the feet first.
- 4.7% of Americans eat the tail first.
- American adults prefer milk chocolate (65%) over dark chocolate (27%).
- The world’s largest chocolate bunny was created by South African artist, Harry Johnson. It was 12 feet, 5 inches and weighed 3 tons.
- One Dove Milk Chocolate Bunny (170g) contains 52 grams total fat, almost one day’s worth of recommended fat.
- 86% of Americans claim they would prefer having chocolate bunnies instead of a live rabbit.
- For the past decade, the top-selling non-chocolate Easter candy has been the marshmallow Peep. During the Easter season, Americans buy more than 700 million Peeps.
- The Bethlehem, Pennsylvania-based candy manufacturer, Just Born, began selling Peeps in the 1950s. Just Born was founded by a Russian immigrant, Sam Born in 1923.
- Yellow chicks are the original Peep, and still the favorite.
- Yellow Peep Bunnies are the second most popular color/shape combination. Pink is the second best-selling color.
- Each day throughout the year, 5 million marshmallow chicks and bunnies are produced in preparation for Easter.
- In 1953, it took 27 hours to create one Peeps marshmallow chick. Today, thanks to advances in technology, it takes six minutes.
- Peeps used to have two wings. In 1955, Peeps’ wings were “clipped” to give them a more sleek and modern look.
- Each Peeps chick has 28 calories. Bunnies have 27.5 calories.
6) Miscellaneous Food
- 600 million eggs are typically sold in United States during the months of March and April.
- At one time, pretzels were associated with Easter because the twists of the pretzel were thought to resemble arms crossing in prayer.
- Ham came to be the traditional favorite for Easter dinner because in pre-refrigeration days, hogs were slaughtered in the Fall and cured for six to seven months – just in time for Easter dinner.
- According to the National Restaurant Association, more than 33 million Americans are expected to celebrate the Easter holiday by dining out.
- The largest hot cross bun weighed 370 pounds, 6 ounces and was made by the RSPB in conjunction with Greenhalghs Bakery in Bolton, UK in 2012.
Do you know any other Easter facts?
So there you have it, all you wanted… (and didn’t want to) know about Easter. Now I want to hear from you.
- Please share your fun Easter facts with me in the comments below!
Have a wonderful holiday!
- 20 Delicious Facts About Peeps. (n.d.). Retrieved March 22, 2016, from http://mentalfloss.com/article/56283/20-delicious-facts-about-peeps
- Easter Symbols and Traditions. (n.d.). Retrieved March 22, 2016, from http://www.history.com/topics/holidays/easter-symbols
- Fun Facts About Jelly Belly. (n.d.). Retrieved March 22, 2016, from http://www.jellybelly.com/fun-facts
- Sweet Easter Insights – NCA. (n.d.). Retrieved March 22, 2016, from http://www.candyusa.com/life-candy/easter-central/sweet-easter-insights/
When she is not slaying fat and building muscle, Jennifer can be found trekking barefoot, traveling, cooking and refining her photography skills. She also enjoys reading and writing about food culture, history and the science of human movement.