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26 January 2017

Easter facts and statistics

Impress your friends and family with this range of facts and stats about Easter - or add them into your Easter talks.

You can also have a look at lots of Easter resources from different Christian churches and organisations to help you follow Lent and prepare for Easter.

Chocolate facts

  • Britons love chocolate. In world league tables of per capita consumption the UK comes joint 4th behind Switzerland, Germany and Austria.
  • On average, each person in Britain eats approx. 9.5 kg of chocolate per year.
  • The first chocolate factory in Britain opened in 1657.
  • J.S. Fry and Sons developed the first solid chocolate bar and it went on sale in 1847. Cadbury Brothers produced their first bar of chocolate in 1849. Both bars would have been made from dark chocolate as milk chocolate was not available until after 1875 when Swiss chocolatier Daniel Peter developed the process for making the sweeter lighter version of chocolate.
  • The Ivory Coast in West Africa is the world's leading producer of cocoa - supplying 43 per cent.
  • Make Chocolate Fair estimates there are 2 million children working on cocoa plantations in Ghana and Ivory Coast, 500,000 of them in exploitative conditions.
  • Fairtrade Chocolate sales now make up almost 12 per cent of UK chocolate confectionary sales and is worth £542m.
  • Thorntons made the world’s largest chocolate bar to celebrate their 100th birthday. It weighed 6 tonnes and was equivalent to 75,000 of their standard size bars.

Easter facts

  • Eggs were traditionally used in pre-Christian festivals as the symbol of new life, purity or fertility. Later customs concerning eggs were linked with Easter because the egg provided a fresh and powerful symbol of the Resurrection and the transformation of death into life.
  • The tradition of wearing Easter bonnets is also related to the celebration of new life and the coming of spring. The first bonnets were actually circles or wreaths of leaves and spring flowers but the tradition eventually developed into the wearing of extravagant hats often decorated with spring flowers.
  • The Real Easter Egg, a Fair Trade Easter egg that explains the Christian meaning of Easter is on sale again for Easter 2017. There are four eggs in the range this year plus a pack of 30 small eggs suitable for Easter egg hunts.
  • Decorating and colouring hen, duck or goose eggs for Easter was the custom in England during the Middle Ages. The household accounts of Edward I, for the year 1290, recorded an expenditure of eighteen pennies for four hundred and fifty eggs to be gold-leafed and coloured for Easter gifts.
  • Papier-mache Easter eggs started being produced in England in the 18th century and then the first chocolate eggs appeared in the 19th century with the earliest ones being completely solid
  • The first chocolate Easter egg was produced in 1873 by Fry's.
  • The most famous decorated Easter eggs are those designed by Peter Carl Faberge. In 1885 the Russian Tsar, Alexander III, commissioned Faberge to make a special Easter gift for his wife, the Empress Marie. This first Faberge egg was an egg within an egg. It had an outside shell of gold and white enamel which opened to reveal a smaller gold egg. The smaller egg, in turn, opened to display a golden chicken and a jewelled replica of the Imperial Crown. The Tsar and Tsarina were so impressed with their gold that they ordered the Faberge firm to design further eggs to be delivered every Easter. In later years Nicholas II, Alexander's son, continued the custom.
  • A previously unaccounted for Faberge egg was found by an American scrap metal dealer in 2013. It sold for £20 million. He had bought it for its scrap metal value of $13,000 and had been trying to sell it for a while before he realised it may be a Faberge egg.
  • Approximately 80 million chocolate eggs are sold annually in the UK.
  • The record for the largest Easter egg tree was set by Rostock Zoo in Germany who decorated a tree with 76,596 painted hen's eggs on 8 April 2007.
  • The most expensive egg on sale in 2016 cost £25,000 and was available from Brighton Chocolatiers Choccywoccydodah.
  • The most popular chocolate egg worldwide is Cadbury's Creme Egg, which first went on sale in 1971. The Bourneville factory can make 1.5 million Creme Eggs every day, 500 million are made each year with one third being exported overseas.
  • Easter chocolate sales make up 10 per cent of Britain's annual spending on chocolate.
  • In 2016 the UK’s Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) estimated that the country would discard some 3000 tonnes of packaging from around 80 million Easter eggs.
  • Dietitians have warned that eating five Easter eggs (the average given to most children) plus the bars included with them, could see youngsters doubling their recommended calorie intake for a week, risking becoming hooked on chocolate and seeing their weight increase by several pounds within days. The recommended daily amounts are around 2,000 calories a day for an average 11-year-old boy and 1,500 for a girl, but many could be eating up to 10,000 calories over the Easter period.
  • The world's biggest handmade Easter egg was unveiled in Argentina in April 2015. It was made using 8,000kg of chocolate.
  • One of the most expensive eggs on offer in 2006 was the unique Diamond Stella Egg - a chocolate egg laden with diamonds - which came with a £50,000 price tag.
  • Easter Eggs 2017 were seen in shops just before Christmas 2016 when people reported seeing Cadburys Creme eggs and Mini eggs in some supermarkets on 19th Dec.

All the above statistics from a variety of sources including dailytelegraph.co.uk, guardian.co.uk, foodproductiondaily.com, bbc.co.uk,  chocolateexpert.co.uk, thecalendercompany.org, guinnessworldrecords.com, talkingretail.com, realeasteregg.co.ukmakechocolatefair.org, worldvision.com.au, http://eauk.co/1Cvkbee, fairtrade.org.uk, cadburyworld.co.ukBirmingham Mail, The Standard


Declining religious importance of Easter

A ComRes survey carried out in 2012 found that the majority of Christians feel there is a disassociation between the religious traditions of festivals and the way they are perceived today.

Some other findings from the survey were:

  • 90 per cent of Christians think children today know less about the crucifixion and resurrection than children did 30 years ago.
  • 95 per cent of Christians believe that Jesus was raised from the dead on the third day after his crucifixion.
  • 77 per cent of practising Christians believe Easter is a more important festival than Christmas.
  • 63 per cent of Christians think that Easter egg hunts or egg painting and similar activities are a good way of engaging children with the Easter story.
 The 2015 Talking Jesus survey conducted by Barna and ComRes on behalf of the Evangelical Alliance, Church of England and Hope found:
  • Only 43% of people believe in the Resurrection

 Children’s Knowledge of the Easter story

A survey conducted amongst children aged 8 to 15 in 2014 on behalf of Bible Society found that:

  • 28 per cent think the hare and the tortoise feature in the Easter story
  • 29 per cent did not know that God raised Jesus from the dead
  • 90 per cent knew that Jesus was nailed to a cross
  • 80 per cent knew that it was Judas who betrayed Jesus

Source: biblesociety.com

Church-going at Easter

The most recent statistics, published in Oct 2016, from the Church of England gives the attendance figure of 1.3 million for Easter services in 2015.

Cathedral attendance on Easter Sunday in 2015 was 54,000 and Holy Week (Palm Sunday to Good Friday) attendances have been increasing dramatically in recent years from 68,800 in 2013 to 92,500 in 2015.

Top Easter worship Songs 2016

Do you have a favourite Easter song? Here are the top 10 from Praisecharts.com top 100.

  1. O Praise The Name (Anastasis) (Hillsong Worship)
  2. My Story (Big Daddy Weave)
  3. This Is Amazing Grace (Phil Wickham)
  4. Same Power (Jeremy Camp)
  5. At The Cross (Love Ran Red) (Chris Tomlin)
  6. Cornerstone (Hillsong Worship)
  7. This I Believe (The Creed) (Hillsong Worship)
  8. Love Come Down (North Point Worship, Heath Balltzglier)
  9. Come As You Are (David Crowder)
  10. Because He Lives (Amen) (Matt Maher)