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Origins of the Easter Egg


By Monkey1
March 23 2016

  We all take it for granted that at Easter we will munch our way through chocolate eggs, get fat, and then think about joining Weightwatchers, but how many of us know the origins of this annual ritual? I have wondered about this for a long time so I decided to find out, and I was not surprised to find that our beloved game of rugby lies at the very heart of the story.  

The game of rugby had been around for thousands of years before the chocolate egg was invented. The origins of the iconic ball that we are all familiar with are lost in time, but it is believed that the shape developed to enable better handling as the ball was thrown from man to man as a means of passing the time while out hunting. Before long this developed into the game that we know today, with rival tribes taking the ball for many miles across country to place the ball down in the centre of the other tribe’s village. Because of the rough terrain it was impossible to kick the ball along the ground, so it was natural to develop a game where the ball was thrown between players as they ran.

 

The game grew in popularity, but it soon became evident that as a spectator sport it needed to be better organised. Taking the ball from one village to another meant that the spectators had to run for many miles to keep up with the action, and it was impossible to know where best to position the bars and hot dog stalls.

 

Eventually it was decided to contain the game within a flat field half way between the villages, or in the case of Bedford not so flat, and the rugby pitch was born. A line was drawn at each end of the field representing the boundaries of each village, and posts were erected between which the ball could be kicked to score extra points as a substitute for the raping and pillaging that had previously taken place after popping the ball down in an opponent’s village. By 4,500 years ago the game was so popular that huge new grounds had to be built to accommodate the cheering crowds, and the original stone posts can still be seen today.

 Choc Stonehenge

The game continued to develop and was refined over thousands of years to become very similar to the game that we know today. The use of spears and clubs was banned as safety improved, and men tearing each other limb from limb in huge packs became what we now know as the scrum. The line-out was invented as a means of restarting the game when some pillock kicked the ball into the woods, and the box kick was brought in as a means of making the game less interesting. During all of this time however the ball remained almost unchanged, the original shape with a point at each end worked as well on the new flat pitches as it had across open country.

 

It was the arrival of Christianity that brought chocolate to Britain, for it is written in the scriptures that our dear Lord so loved chocolate that he wanted us all to eat tons of the stuff. The people of Britain did not take well to this new religion however, saying that stuff will rot your teeth and will stop children from eating their dinner. A way had to be found to make chocolate more acceptable, and one day somebody thought up the idea of making chocolate replicas of the rugby balls that were so popular amongst the great unwashed. Originally this didn’t catch on as the chocolate balls weighed so much that they were dangerous, and required fifty quid’s worth of chocolate to make, but a method was found to make them hollow just like the real rugby balls.

 Choc Ball Grass

The church was gaining power and influence over the people, and in a cynical move to bring chocolate to the masses it was decided to create an annual holiday towards the end of the rugby season. People would get the Friday and Monday off work as long as they bought each other the new chocolate rugby balls. This was a clever move as people soon realised that they could get wasted after a game of rugby on the Sunday & wouldn’t have to crawl out of bed to go to work the next day.

 

The Easter Egg as we know it today dates back to Victorian times and the invention of the lawnmower. Until the arrival of a means of cutting grass evenly to form a smooth surface, the pitches were rough patches of mud with a lumpy surface and uneven pasture, and a pitch of this primitive type can still be seen today in Gloucester. The advent of the modern well-trimmed pitch opened up the game to people who previously couldn’t play rugby as they either had butter fingers and couldn’t catch the ball, or because they were just too girlie to play a proper man’s sport. Now they could use a round ball which could be kicked around on the new turf. They invented a game where this could be done for hours on end without anything interesting happening, and the game of football was born.

 

The two games lived in unison for a while, but it wasn’t long before disharmony set in. The footballers complained about the state of the pitch and the awful smells in the changing rooms after a game of rugby, and the rugby players complained about the shelves full of hair products in the showers. There was division, and the two games went their separate ways. This was a disaster for the chocolate ball industry, which by this time was worth a few quid. The football supporters refused to buy chocolate rugby balls and sales started to suffer. Again it was religion that led to the solution. The Reverend Archibald Peacemaker from the Wiltshire village of Little Piddle in the Pond came up with the solution of making the chocolate balls pointed like a rugby ball at one end, and round like a football at the other.

 Choc Egg

So as you see, the history of the chocolate egg can be traced back thousands of years to the very dawn of rugby, even though chocolate didn’t arrive on the shores of Britain until the end of the sixth century. So when you unwrap your chocolate egg on Sunday, don’t just smash it up and munch it down in a fit of gluttony, take a moment to admire the shape and wonder at the thousands of years of history that you hold in your hands.

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Origins of the Easter Egg
FalconsRugby.org.uk (IP Logged)
23/03/2016 09:44
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Re: Origins of the Easter Egg
limpopo (IP Logged)
23/03/2016 11:34
Wonderful story Monkey, well done

 
Re: Origins of the Easter Egg
DJMc (IP Logged)
23/03/2016 11:40
Thanks for filling the gaps in my knowledge of the history of the Easter Egg, fascinating stuff. I do have just one small correction of geography rather in history and that is Little Piddle in the Pond is just over the border in Dorset rather than Wiltshire.

It sits with the family of villages along with Piddlehinton, Puddletown, Piddletrenthide, Tolpuddle, Affpuddle, Briantspuddle, and Turnerspuddle. The rather prudish Victorians changed some of the names to "Puddle" but not all.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2016:03:23:12:13:51 by DJMc.

 
Re: Origins of the Easter Egg
schneiderlein (IP Logged)
23/03/2016 13:05
Obviously a quiet night up in the North-East! A cracking tale, though! Thanks for giving me a good laugh!

Du skal ikke tro at du er bedre end os!

 
Re: Origins of the Easter Egg
waltham (IP Logged)
25/03/2016 08:23
Eggcelent article a..made oi smile muchly...

(damn! Smileys not working!!)

 
Re: Origins of the Easter Egg
b.q.f.m (IP Logged)
25/03/2016 09:11
Brilliant. Thank you. smiling smiley smiling smiley smiling smiley

 
Re: Origins of the Easter Egg
Leipziger (IP Logged)
25/03/2016 11:37
Good stuff Monkey!

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