Easter in Peru is supposed to be a fantastic week of celebrations known as Semana Santa (‘Holy Week’) and while we can’t take the Rathbone to Peru, we can bring a little slice of Peru to the Rathbone with a great offer at Señor Ceviche, London’s most exciting Peruvian restaurant when you book your stay online.
**20% off lunch from Monday to Friday and 10% off dinner from Monday to Thursday**
Yeah OK, that’s a bit of a tenuous link to Easter. Still, it’s a big deal around the world but what do we really know about the festival that celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ?
That’s why we’re going to tell you the irreverent story of how we came to be allowed to wolf down vast amounts of chocolate and a water-cooler list of some of the world’s strangest Easter customs!
If you’re coming to London in the next few weeks, our fantastic Easter Getaway offer will save you just enough money so you don’t feel any level of guilt for eating a year’s worth of chocolate over the course of one weekend….
Why on Earth Do We Eat Easter Eggs?
Actually, before we get to that, do you know why Easter is called Easter?
In fact, no-one can say with absolute certainty but the most widely accepted theory is that the word is a bastardised version of the name of a 7th century pagan fertility goddess called Ēostre.
The famous monk the Venerable Bede wrote about Ēosturmōnaþ, in Old English it translates to the Month of Ēostre (around April) and it was a period of time where fertility was supposed to be at its peak and celebrations were held in her honour.
Anyway, back to the chocolate.
In most cultures eggs are a powerful symbol of fertility and birth and as Christianity swept through Europe, not only did the new religion follow the teachings of Jesus, it also managed to absorb many pagan customs and beliefs.
Predominantly, the egg represented the Resurrection but the custom of using eggs to mark occasions possibly came from the ancient Persians (thousands of years before Christianity was a thing) who painted eggs to celebrate Nowruz, the New Year.
Yes, yes. But what about the chocolate?
We’re getting there. In the 17th and 18th centuries, egg-shaped toys were given as gifts to children at Easter and depending on your status, they were either covered in cardboard, plush fabric or satin and filled with small gifts and chocolates. See. Told you’d we’d get there.
Chocolate eggs were first produced in Europe by the Germans and the French in the early years of the 19th century. The first eggs were solid since techniques for mass-producing moulded chocolate hadn’t been invented yet but then, as tech advanced, hollow chocolate eggs with all sorts of delights filling the insides became de rigeur, and we are thankful they did!
Today, the Easter egg market in the UK is worth an eye-watering £220m a year and if you’ve literally got more money than sense, Choccywoccydoodah have created Fabergé-style eggs at – wait for it – £25,000 each.
But – wait for it – you must buy three. So that’s £75,000. It’s a simple choice. Mortgage or chocolate.
Here’s a simpler choice for you: When you stay at the Rathbone, should you try Señor Ceviche on your first night with us or your last?
Entirely up to you but whichever night you choose, you’ll love it!
The Strangest Easter Customs
Just for fun (and for you to impress your colleagues around the water-cooler with your bizarre Easter knowledge), here are some of the strangest Easter customs from around the world…!
Czech Republic & Slovakia Men and boys wander the streets on Easter Monday with brightly-decorated sticks of willow looking for girls to whip lightly. It’s not meant to hurt, rather it’s seen to encourage beauty and good health! Charming in a slightly disturbing way.
Colombia The Colombians don’t eat chocolate eggs and bunnies at Easter, they eat iguana, turtles and giant rodents. Seems logical.
Greece In Greece you will only find red eggs. It represents the blood of Christ. Also, red is the colour of life and the eggs are eaten as a symbol of victory over death. Happy happy joy joy.
Hungary On Easter Sunday women dress up in traditional Hungarian costume and are ceremoniously splashed with water. Guess it’s better than being whipped.
Russia The traditional Easter meal is served with a big slab of butter formed into the shape of a lamb. In ancient times it was considered lucky to meet a lamb because, tradition suggests, you can be certain a lamb isn’t Satan in disguise. Presumably they have other butter for the bread?
France On Easter Sunday, the residents of the town of Haux in south-western France crack around 4,500 eggs at home and bring them to the town square where a massive Easter omelette is cooked in a vast frying pan and everyone has breakfast. And lunch. And dinner…. Egg-strordinary.
Norway Easter is a time for crime. Before you think you can go to Norway and profit from a weekend of criminal activity, it’s not that. The TV channels are crammed full of ‘whodunnits’, Norwegian publishers release tons of detective novels in the run-up to Easter and families hunker down for the weekend and indulge. Even the milk cartons have short stories on them. The tradition started in the 1920s when a publisher released a crime novel set on the Bergen railway and it all took off. Better than endless re-runs of Ben-Hur.
All that’s left for us to do is to wish you a very happy Easter and we look forward to welcoming you to the Rathbone very soon.