It’s hard to imagine Easter without Easter baskets – and since we’re in the candy business selling Easter Basket Candy , we don’t even want to try! Easter baskets have been providing happiness to children of all ages for centuries. But where did the idea of Easter baskets come from, and how did they become such an enduring tradition? And what do you need to make the perfect Easter basket? Let us help you out!
History of Easter Baskets
Although baskets are now linked with Easter Sunday, they actually have pagan roots. Ancient farmers depended on their livestock and crops for a living, so the spring equinox was a special time in their cultures. The spring equinox is a time when day and night are of equal length, and it was a signal that the long harsh winter was over and that spring a time of renewal and rebirth was at hand. To celebrate the season, farmers prayed to various gods for fertile fields. Middle Eastern cultures, such as the Hebrews, Arabs, Assyrians, and Babylonians, had a spring tradition of celebrating the first seedlings of their new crops. They brought the seedlings in baskets to temples for a blessing, to pray that their gods would continue to bless the crops for rest of the year.
One of the most significant connections of Easter to these ancient religions is that the date of Easter each year is based upon astrological signs. Easter occurs on the Sunday after the first full moon following the spring equinox. This first moon was a sign to farmers to make sure they planted the first seeds of the season.
The use of Easter baskets as we know them today developed from more modern Christian symbols. During Lent, which lasts for 40 days before Easter, many Christians abstain from certain foods or treats until Easter comes. The tradition of feasting on a large Easter meal symbolizes the end of Lenten fasting. In earlier times, this Easter feast was brought in large baskets to church to be blessed by priests, in much the same way as ancient cultures brought their first seedlings to be blessed in temples.
The Easter Bunny, who brings Easter baskets, was brought to America by German immigrants. The bunny was originally a symbol of Easter for the Germans who came to America in the 18th century.
Make the Perfect Easter Basket
As candy experts, we know just what you need to make your Easter basket a success! The National Confectioners Association (NCA) has estimated that nearly 80% of parents put together Easter Baskets for their children. The NCA also reports that chocolate Easter bunnies are the most popular Easter basket item, with around 90 million sold every year. Easter Jelly beans come second with a staggering 16 billion jelly beans sold annually. Remember finding the bottom of your basket full of them and scooping them out by the handful!
To make a great Easter basket, start with a pretty basket and layer in some of that ever-present Easter grass! Then, fill it with at least one candy from each of these categories:
• Jelly beans
• Chocolate bunnies
• Chocolate eggs
• Bubble gum
• Easter-themed novelty candy
Be sure to include some non-edible treats, too! Good ideas include coloring books and crayons, play jewelry, cute socks, paperback books, and small toys. Then hide the basket and wait for the look of joy on each child’s face! For added fun - write clues for your kids to solve to find the hidden basket!
Want still more! Take a hop over to these Fun Easter Egg Facts.