Food plays a significant role in many celebrations and Easter is certainly no different. What will you have for your Easter dinner when visiting a restaurant or entertaining friends at home? Most people will say lamb, as this is the traditional dish. In this post we are going to take a look at conventional dishes in further detail. So, keep on reading to find out everything you need to know…
Traditional Easter foods carry a lot of symbolisation. This can be split into three different sections…
- Food specifically related to Christ – Lamb directly relates to Christ, i.e. the ‘Lamb of God’, which is why it is the symbol of Easter.
- Pagan rites of spring – There are various foods that are traceable to pagan rites of spring. This again includes lamb, which symbolises sacrifice. Aside from this, cake represents fertility, ham is for luck and eggs symbolise rebirth.
- Modern interpretations – This includes chocolate treats and such like. This relates to the more commercial aspect of the celebration.
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- Good Friday – Hot Cross Buns are traditionally served on Good Friday. It is believed that this tradition comes from the ancient Anglo-Saxons, who honoured the springtime goddess by baking small wheat cakes. If you don’t like hot cross buns, choose anything baked, like these treats from Eastern Standard Provisions, as a great alternative.
- Easter Day – The day starts with a traditional breakfast of boiled eggs. Roasted lamb is served for the main meal, whilst Simnel cake is enjoyed afterwards. This is a fruitcake that has a layer of marzipan on the top. Traditionally this cake is decorated with 11 marzipan balls. These balls represent the disciples. Of course there was 12, yet Judas is not represented, as he betrayed Christ.
Out of all of the foods that have been mentioned, lamb is undoubtedly the main dish of Easter. There are many reasons why this is the case. Lamb has a long association with the celebration and Christianity. It is also supposed to be a good luck omen. Many centuries ago people believed that lambs brought luck, as the devil could take the form of every other animal but not the lamb because of its religious symbolisation.
Food for Thought: There’s been a few years when we gather at a local park and enjoy grilled burgers. With so many cultures and food selections, you can create a buffet with plenty of delicious recipes to try. We love incorporating breakfast ideas on Easter Sunday, last year we made a simple egg scramble that looked like a bunny.
Different food traditions from around the globe
Whilst lamb and hot cross buns are generally enjoyed worldwide, there are some foods that are specific to different countries. For example, in the United States ham is a traditional food for this holiday. This was the practical choice in the early days, as there was no refrigeration and consequently the fresh pork that was not eaten in winter would be cured. The curing process took a considerable period of time and therefore the pork was ready around Easter time.
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