It’s that time of year, when pastel-colored, candy-coated eggs and bright yellow, soft, and squishy marshmallow birds fill the aisles of grocery stores. It’s all destined for Easter baskets and plastic eggs to be secreted around houses and yards for kiddos to unearth.
Eggs and bunnies have for centuries been symbols of rebirth and fertility, so it makes sense that over time they became connected to Easter, the Christian holiday that celebrates the resurrection of Jesus. The specific practice of exchanging dyed eggs came about in the 13th century, when Edward I of England had 450 eggs dyed, covered in gold leaf, and distributed amongst the “royal entourage.” Residents of 13th-century English villages would also bring Easter eggs to their manorial lords and church each year as a special gift. It wasn’t until the late 19th and 20th century, however, when Easter eggs were primarily given to children, a side effect of the Victorian era’s emphasis on family life.
So how did candy become an Easter thing? From ancient times until present day, it’s common during Lent give up not only sweets, but all meat and animal products. The arrival of Easter means a lifting of these restrictions, which has turned the holiday into a celebration of food, especially sweets! Now, Easter is the third biggest holiday for candy sales in the U.S. behind Halloween and Christmas. Here are five top Easter candy favorites:
Giant chocolate bunnies (thick, full, and totally solid)
The true hero of Easter (besides the Bunny and Jesus, obviously) are chocolate bunnies that are solid the whole way through. This entry takes the traditional chocolate bunny mold, and fills in ALL the spaces. As a kid, getting a totally solid chocolate bunny in your basket was the equivalent of landing a free Nintendo 64 that was also stuffed with Pogs and Creepy Crawlers. This was the centerpiece of your basket. The shining center of your holiday. Your reward for sitting through church and wearing those awful suspenders your mom insisted made you look like a “little grown-up.” It is truly what I miss most about childhood.
Peanut Butter Cup eggs
Ah Reese’s—America’s candy sweetheart. You can roll through nearly any Easter basket scenario in the United States, and more often than not, the Reese’s is the most popular item, the Holy Grail. And I get it. They are delicious and wholly unoffensive.
Peeps Yellow Marshmallow Chicks
You didn’t think we would get through this whole list without including these, did you? You can’t go wrong with this classic. Fluffy, creamy, and oh-so-iconic, there’s no substitute for bright yellow Peeps.
Mini Cadbury eggs
A true Easter pro tip: Size does matter in the case of Cadbury Eggs, as these little, lesser-known superstars eschew the off-putting (in my opinion!) cream of their pumped up brethren and instead go full-on chocolate. They taste like giant M&M’s. This is the point of the list where we switch over from filler to killer. So get ready for the good stuff.
Perhaps more than any other Easter-focused candy, jelly beans truly capture the spirit of the day. They are bright. They are light. They are festive. And they will make you feel a little bit queasy after like, 10 minutes. But what would Easter be without a jelly bean.
Those are our top five- leave a comment to let us know your favorite to be on the list.
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