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Dropping ‘Easter’ from eggs sparks culture war in England

Easter, the most important Christian festival of the year, seems to be quietly disappearing, as far as chocolate eggs are concerned. You have to hunt hard for references to ‘Easter’ on the packaging of products that sell in their millions at this time of the year. Religion News Service photo by Trevor Grundy
Easter, the most important Christian festival of the year, seems to be quietly disappearing, as far as chocolate eggs are concerned. You have to hunt hard for references to ‘Easter’ on the packaging of products that sell in their millions at this time of the year. Religion News Service photo by Trevor Grundy

Easter, the most important Christian holiday of the year, seems to be quietly disappearing, as far as chocolate eggs are concerned. You have to hunt hard for references to “Easter” on the packaging of products that sell in the millions at this time of the year. Religion News Service photo by Trevor Grundy

CANTERBURY, England (RNS) Chocolate manufacturers in the U.K. have removed the word “Easter” from the holiday egg candy that has delighted millions of children for generations.

But a demand that manufacturers put Easter back on the packaging of chocolate eggs has become the latest culture war issue on the eve of Christianity’s most important holiday, which falls Sunday (March 27).

“It’s deeply disappointing and shameful that some of the biggest companies (they include Cadbury and Nestle) are censoring the countries’ old tradition,” said David Marshall, CEO of the Meaningful Chocolate Co., a group set up in an attempt to reintroduce Easter eggs and Advent calendars featuring Nativity scenes in the mainstream market. “It shows they’re insensitive and uncomfortable with the Christian faith.”


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Anglican Bishop Nicholas Holtam of Salisbury also weighed in: “Perhaps people understand that the festival is religious and do not want to see it turned into something secular,” he said.

Easter, the most important Christian festival of the year, seems to be quietly disappearing, as far as chocolate eggs are concerned. You have to hunt hard for references to ‘Easter’ on the packaging of products that sell in their millions at this time of the year. Religion News Service photo by Trevor Grundy

Easter, the most important Christian holiday of the year, seems to be quietly disappearing, as far as chocolate eggs are concerned. You have to hunt hard for references to “Easter” on the packaging of products that sell in the millions at this time of the year. Religion News Service photo by Trevor Grundy

Cadbury, which is based in Birmingham, England, is also marketing chocolate eggs that celebrate the traditional children’s hunt for eggs at Easter.

Its up-market organic chocolate subsidiary, Green and Black’s, is describing Easter as “the festival of chocolate and loveliness.”

The chocolate companies, meanwhile, denied claims they were deliberately trying to distance Easter eggs from their religious origin.

In a short statement Cadbury said: “We do not have a policy to drop Easter from our eggs.”

“There has been no deliberate decision to drop the word Easter from our products and the name is still widely used at Nestle,” said Laura Archer of Nestle.

Cadbury creme eggs on sale in Kansas on March 24, 2016,, still have "Easter" on the packaging. Religion News Service photo by Sally Morrow

Cadbury creme eggs on sale in Kansas on March 24, 2016, with “Easter” on the packaging. Religion News Service photo by Sally Morrow

A recent YouGov opinion poll showed that 4 in 5 British citizens want to keep the “E” word on their eggs.

Added Marshall: “More than 80 million chocolate Easter eggs are sold very year in the U.K., but over the past five years some manufacturers have either removed the word ‘Easter’ from their boxes, calling them just chocolate eggs, or reduced the word in size and put it on the back of the box.”

(Trevor Grundy is an RNS correspondent based in Canterbury, England)

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Trevor Grundy

30 Comments

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  • Not having Easter is like not using the Bible in church yet many of these
    so called “preachers” today are more like motivational speakers then we
    wonder why so many people in church still get drunk,be mean,gossip or
    gamble,have premarital sex,covet,do not bridle their sharp tongues and
    be jealous,greedy,sleep around. 1 Corinthians 5 and in 6..1 Peter 4:1-7
    and in Matthew 7:13-23 plus… Galations 5:12-26 with Luke 13 are great.

  • Easter is a pagan holiday. It offends God. If you have a bible, you should learn what it REALLY teaches.

  • “It shows they’re insensitive and uncomfortable with the Christian faith.”

    We should all be so uncomfortable with the Christian faith. Pretty sure eating chocolate has no religious significance anyway–it serves as an effective way to lure children into accepting the scary fairy tale of Jesus’ murder (just ask a Catholic priest, they’ll confirm candy makes great bait).

    Easter candy is a fun secular tradition, nothing more. It doesn’t matter if “Easter” appears on the bag, and the kids certainly don’t care.

  • Adding the word Easter to any product is a marketing strategy to sell more of something. My guess is that it no longer helped push the product. Besides, without the seasonal name they could sell all year long. Now if Easter buyers started buying tons of the stuff only around the season the name would come back. Simple. No need for paranoid fears of some deep conspiracy.

  • As a devote Christian I do not see the problem but a blessing. I still eat them and hand them out but what does chocolate eggs have anything to do with my Lord and risen Savior. This is much ado about noting and if you think this is a big deal you got the wrong prospective and dare say took your eyes of the cross and became worldly. The good news Christ has died for that sin.

  • It’s hard to believe that this can make headlines or even an article. Yes the “egg”
    concept is pagan, yes Easter is not. I enjoy “Easter eggs” and I eat the same
    item with or without any association with being a Christian. Please let the kids
    alone and do not make this an issue between the religious and the secular
    families. Just keep eating them.

  • Eggs-actly. Cadbury’s Creme Eggs have always been available year-round in the UK.

    This is a typical made-up story to stir up the fundementalist in the US.

  • The most important Christian date is the memorial of Christ’s death, also known as the Lord’s last meal (with unleavened bread and wine), held every Nisan 14 according to the Jewish calendar, which was commemorated worldwide on March 23, 2016. Jesus never instructed his followers to commemorate his resurrection.

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