What day do you give Easter eggs and where does the tradition come from?

Here's when you should be hosting your Easter egg hunt...

A half unwrapped Easter-egg in pink foil on a pink background
(Image credit: Getty Images)

It's difficult to know what day you should give Easter eggs out to celebrate Easter, with the school holiday spanning a few weeks and chocolate treats on the shelves since early January. 

Finding the perfect Easter egg can be a challenge, with some of the biggest brands often selling out of the best Easter eggs weeks before the holiday weekend - which is why knowing the key dates around Easter and getting chocolate in your basket early is so important (especially as some shops aren't open on Easter Sunday, and others have different opening hours on Good Friday). 

As for when you should give them out, there are a number of Easter food traditions that suggest chocolate Easter eggs should be eaten on a particular day. Really, it depends whether you're a stickler for religious tradition or like to do it your own way. Whichever camp you sit in, here's what you need to know about when to give Easter eggs out and why we do it in the first place.

What day do you give Easter eggs?

In the Christian tradition, Easter eggs should be given out on Easter Sunday - usually after a roast lamb Easter dinner or perhaps a vegetarian alternative. This is because in medieval times, eating eggs was forbidden during Lent, and Easter marks the end of that period.

It all depends on how you're celebrating the holiday though! Some people stock up on the early Easter egg deals in January and munch through the chocolate all the way until the big weekend. Others give their Easter eggs any day from Maundy Thursday (the day before Good Friday), which is on April 6 this year. 

Most people give out Easter eggs at any point during the Easter Bank Holiday weekend, which this year occurs from Friday 7 April until Monday 10, so it really depends on when you want to indulge in the chocolatey treats.

Why do we give eggs at Easter?

There are many different theories as to where the tradition of giving eggs at Easter came from, but the most popular one is a result of Easter Sunday symbolising the end of Lent.

Lent is the 40-day period leading up to Easter and starts after Pancake Day. During lent, it is Christian tradition to fast and abstain from certain foods, including eggs. Therefore, eating an egg is breaking this fast and marking the end of Lent.

However, others say the tradition of gifting eggs comes from their symbolism as new life, which ties in with both the resurrection of Jesus and the start of spring.

When the tradition of gifting eggs first emerged, they would be painted birds eggs. But chocolate became more common in the 19th and 20th Century, and France and Germany were two of the first countries to reinvent the tradition into what we know today.

When can you eat Easter eggs?

If you're following tradition, you should wait until Easter Sunday to eat your Easter eggs - but really whenever you eat them is up to you. Especially as they're widely available in shops as early as January.

Although Easter is a religious event, Easter eggs are not actually part of the religious nature of the weekend, meaning there's no set day to eat Easter eggs - but most people tuck in anytime between Maundy Thursday and Easter Sunday.

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Grace Walsh
Features Writer

Grace Walsh is a Features Writer for Goodto.com, covering breaking news health stories during the Covid-19 pandemic as well as lifestyle and entertainment topics.  She has worked in media since graduating from the University of Warwick in 2019 with a degree in Classical Civilisation and a year spent abroad in Italy. It was here that Grace caught the bug for journalism, after becoming involved in the university’s student newspaper and radio station.