Easter eggs – all about the origin of this gourmet tradition

Happy child with Leonidas Easter eggs in his hands

Bells, bunnies, chickens, chicks, Easter eggs, etc. Why do all these objects in chocolate invade our gardens when spring arrives? And where did this lovely tradition of decorated eggs originate? Between customs dating back to antiquity, religions, recent legend and indulgence, Leonidas brings you the history of its chocolate Easter eggs!

The Easter egg: a symbol of rebirth

Since the dawn of time, mankind has celebrated spring and nature coming back to life. The egg, and by extension the chicken and chicks, symbolise this rebirth. Archaeologists have found decorated ostrich eggs in Southern Africa dating back 60,000 years. In ancient times, the Persians, Egyptians and Romans would give eggs painted with geometric, floral or animal pattens to bring good luck. Among the Gauls, the Druids honoured the new sun by dyeing eggs red.

Further on in time, people have been painting Easter eggs in Belarus bright red since the 5th century. In Ukraine, you can admire magnificent Easter eggs richly decorated using the pissanka technique (a combination of dye and wax). During the Renaissance, they were adorned with gold leaf. Under Louis XV, eggs were meticulously decorated by the talented artists Watteau and Lancret. In the 19th century, the Easter eggs of the Russian imperial court were none other than the egg-shaped sculptures of gold and precious stones by the famous jeweller Fabergé.

Easter, a festival common to several religions

In the Jewish religion, the Easter period is known as Pesach (Passover). It celebrates the exodus from Egypt as well as the passage from winter to spring. During the seder, a ritual meal, the hard-boiled egg is one of the 7 dishes that must be served.

In the Christian religion, the Easter festival corresponds to the resurrection of Christ: Jesus’ return to life following his death. According to tradition, during Lent - the 40 days leading up to Easter - no food of animal origin should be eaten, including eggs. But chickens don’t simply stop laying during this time. This abundance of eggs is thus eaten at Easter, and those that are too old are decorated.

In traditional Anglo-Saxon religion, coloured eggs are offered to the goddess Eostre at the spring equinox. Her name gave rise to the word Easter.

Leonidas Easter product assortment boxes

From the decorated egg to the chocolate Easter egg

In the 18th century, chocolate found its way to all the royal courts in Europe. Some then had the idea of filing empty eggshells with chocolate to mark the Easter festival.

The 19th century and the industrial revolution saw the rise of chocolate makers throughout Europe. The steam machine allowed cocoa mass to be produced in far greater quantities. Chocolate, at the time the preserve of the elite, became widely available.

Since then, Master Chocolatiers have been rivalling one another in their creativity, and using moulds to produce chocolate eggs. They also draw on Easter stories and legends told to children, and introduce other subjects: church bells returning from Rome, the rabbit (symbol of the goddess Eostre), the hare in the United States, etc.

Easter egg assortment box Leonidas

Leonidas chocolate Easter eggs

eonidas, Belgian chocolatier for over 100 years, is delighted to add to your Easter fun with chocolates specially designed for the occasion. Discover all our know-how and the flavours of traditional Leonidas chocolates in our small multi-coloured Easter eggs.

All your favourite chocolates are there, in ballotins and brightly-coloured boxes: Milk, Praliné, Dark, Tiramisu, Brésilienne with caramelised hazelnuts, Cuberdon with raspberry-flavoured ganache, the iconic Manon with coffee butter cream and many more besides!

Like all our products, our Leonidas eggs and other sweet Easter treats are made from chocolate with 100% pure cocoa butter and guaranteed to be free from palm oil. We use only premium quality ingredients, so our chocolates are always a joy to share.


To celebrate the return of spring and maintain the tradition of Easter eggs, head to your nearest Leonidas shop right now! You can also order your spring collection online in our e-shop.