This time of year, Americans collectively spend almost $2 billion on Easter candy. This falls just behind Halloween for which Americans bought 600 million pounds of candy last year. That adds up to $2.4 billion spent on trick-or-treating sweets. This has me wondering… when did Easter first become associated with certain candies?
Unless you live under a rock or really despise candy, you’re probably familiar with these classic Easter candies: Cadbury Creme Eggs, Jelly Beans, Peeps, and of course, chocolate bunnies. After a bit of research, I found out that the original Easter treat was actually something called “Hot Cross Buns” which were made for Good Friday. See photo below:
It seems that these round cross-bearing buns were first on the Easter scene, as well as the egg. Eggs have long been associated with Easter as a symbol of new life and Jesus’ resurrection. According to one blog I came across, chocolate came next:
The symbol of the egg, which was already being used in Easter festivities at this time, had been a pagan symbol representing fertility and re-birth in pagan times. It had been adopted as part of the Christian Easter festival and it came to represent the ‘resurrection’ or re-birth of Christ after the crucifixion and some believe it is a symbol of the the stone blocking the Sepulcher being ‘rolled’ away. It was during this time the first chocolate Easter egg appeared in Germany and France and soon spread to the rest of Europe and beyond. (Source: http://www.failedsuccess.com)
Chocolate treats grew in popularity and became the primary Easter candy throughout the world and in America all through the 20th century. Approximately 90 million chocolate Easter bunnies are made each year!
As for the Cadbury Creme Egg, the company began making chocolate confections in the U.K. in the 1800′s, but didn’t create the Creme Egg until 1971. Four years later, Cadbury Creme Eggs gained popularity in the U.S. due for the most part to great advertising (see video above).
In the 1930’s, the Jelly Bean was added to the Easter lineup.
Because of their egg-like shape, jelly beans became associated with the Easter Bunny, who by this time had rapidly gained fame after the Civil War as the harbinger of Easter and was believed to deliver eggs as a symbol of new life during the spring season. (Source: http://www.failedsuccess.com)
Next, came the mighty Peep! In the early 1950′s, Marshmallow Peeps began their rise to Easter domination.
When the Just Born company first discovered the yellow chick marshmallows being made by a company called Rodda, they took 27 hours to make just one Peep! In 1954, Just Born acquired Rodda and mechanized the process so that they were able to make the chicks on a mass scale. They didn’t branch out to other shapes like rabbits and eggs until the 1960′s.
Each Easter season, Americans buy more than 700 million Marshmallow Peeps, shaped like chicks, as well as Marshmallow Bunnies and Marshmallow Eggs, making them the most popular non-chocolate Easter candy. Each day, five million marshmallow chicks and bunnies are produced in preparation for Easter with yellow Peeps being the most popular, followed by pink, lavender, blue, and white.(Source: http://www.failedsuccess.com)
Image via RealSimple.com
So while you won’t find any of these candies in the Bible, you can see that they do have a history that dates back for many centuries in the U.S. and beyond.
Do any of you LOVE Peeps? What’s your favorite color and how do you like to eat them? Let me know in the comment section below!