History of Easter Baskets
Table of Contents
- Written by Holly Hughes on February 24, 2022
Can you believe it’s almost that time of year again? The time of chocolate eggs, bright-flowered bouquets, hot cross buns and, most importantly, the all-important Easter basket. Yes, with Easter fast approaching, we thought we’d give you the fast track on everything you need to know to build or buy the perfect festive gift.
Otherwise, let’s get stuck in to the background of Easter baskets and what they mean in today’s celebrations.
What is an Easter basket?
This is essentially a gift hamper stuffed with treats and presents that is traditionally given as a gift at Eastertime. They are customarily filled with food, chocolate eggs, and toys. Other gifts may also be included depending on one’s culture.
The history of Easter baskets
The Easter basket’s history is said to begin as far back as the 7th century. In Poland, the Easter basket’s origin came from Święconka - the Polish tradition of “the blessing of the Easter baskets” which takes place on Holy Saturday.
This earliest iteration of the basket in Easter folklore was customarily lined with lace napkin or white linen and ornamented with a traditionally festive evergreen such as boxwood. After the Lenten period of abstinence, these receptacles contained a variety of foods traditionally eaten at Eastertime and were carried to church on Holy Saturday to be blessed. Then, the baskets were set aside until Easter morning when they could be enjoyed.
Slowly, this tradition has mutated and spread across the world. In the United States, Easter baskets are often left out overnight by children for the Easter bunny to fill with candy, toys, and other goodies.
Who invented Easter?
Easter is associated with the resurrection of Jesus Christ in the Catholic religion. The earliest recording of the celebration’s observance is from the 2nd century and it is thought even the earliest Christians would have honored the resurrection.
More interestingly, when it comes to inventing the idea of the Easter basket, this traces back almost as far to the Anglo-Saxon goddess of spring and fertility, Eostre. Can you see the similarity? Eostre was commonly depicted in images as holding a woven basket in her arms and thus, she is often considered to have been the true beginning of this gift hamper tradition.
Easter basket meaning
Given that Eostre was the goddess of fertility and spring and it is thought that festive panniers originated from her image, the meaning of these hampers is evident. Filled with goods that depict new and nourished life – eggs and rabbits both are deeply symbolic of fertility and even the beginning of all life as we know it – Easter baskets are depictions of fertility.
Does the Easter bunny bring baskets?
Anyone can bring a specially-filled basket at Eastertime! In some instances, children and families will leave their baskets out to be filled by the Easter Bunny. In other stories, the Easter bunny is responsible for not just bringing the chocolate, candy, and stuffed toys that make up the hamper but bringing the basket itself.
In fact, whether the Easter bunny brings baskets or not is really up to the individual!
Do you hide Easter baskets?
Again, the choice to hide them is up to each family and will probably depend on the tradition you yourself grew up with. Some parents hide them for their kids to find, some children leave the baskets out to be filled by the Easter bunny, and some families use them to carry the chocolate eggs they find in an egg hunt.
In short, you can get creative and have as much fun with this as you would like! The choice is yours!
What are some traditional Easter gifts to add to your hamper?
No basket would be complete without a selection of food because, as we have already covered in our history, food was the original item it is believed these hampers were used to hold after the Lenten period of sacrifice.
More specifically, gifts traditionally given at this time include chocolate eggs, chocolate bunnies and chicks, and hot cross buns.
Aside from food, stuffed toys – particularly baby chicks, rabbits, and hares – are also gifts for children associated with this time. Decorated and painted eggs and springtime flowers like tulips and lilies are also traditional presents.
Where can I get a perfect present?
To spread some of the springtime hope and joy of this celebration, gift a loved one a special gift hamper from any one of these delivery services and take the hassle out of your festive shopping. It couldn’t be easier!
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