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Kids have no idea why we celebrate Easter

28/03/2013

Kids think Easter marks the birth of Jesus and we eat chocolate eggs to celebrate the Easter Bunny’s birthday, researchers revealed yesterday (27 March)

A study of 1,000 5-16 year-olds found that many have no idea why we celebrate Easter, the reasons for eating eggs or the traditional way to mark Lent.

And when they think of Easter, 52 per cent of children admitted chocolate is the first thing which comes to their mind.

The origins of the name ‘Palm Sunday’, why we eat pancakes on Shrove Tuesday and why we mark Good Friday also left youngsters scratching their heads.

A spokesman for British Lion Eggs, which commissioned the study said: ‘’Most children look forward to Easter, but it seems many don’t actually know why it is celebrated.

‘’It’s worrying to think that so many youngsters will be tucking into several chocolate eggs but have no idea why.

‘’Eggs have long been associated with Easter and are a symbol of new life.

‘’But few children realise this and see Easter simply as a time for chocolate and time off school.

“From a health point of view they would be far better eating real eggs rather than chocolate.”

The study revealed that almost a third didn’t know why we celebrate Easter with 13 per cent believing it’s to mark the birth of Jesus.

Almost one in ten thought it was to celebrate the Easter Bunny’s birthday while almost one in twenty even think it’s due to it being the anniversary of the day chocolate was invented.

Just 69 per cent of children knew it is to mark the resurrection of Christ.

A third of children were also stumped when it came to the reason for marking Good Friday – the day Jesus died.

One in ten thought it was actually Jesus’ birthday while almost one in twenty think it’s the day the Easter bunny was born.

And when it comes to the reason we eat eggs at Easter, 34 per cent of children were left scratching their heads with almost one in ten believing it’s to mark the anniversary of when chocolate was made for the first time.

Another 13 per cent think we have Easter eggs because chickens lay their eggs around that time due it being the start of spring.

Four in ten youngsters didn’t know that Palm Sunday was given the name because people waved palm leaves at Jesus when he left to travel to Jerusalem – instead one in ten think it’s just because it’s a ‘sunny’ and spring-like name.

One in twenty kids even think it’s because Jesus grew palm trees before he died.

Around one quarter of children also struggled to name the item Jesus wore on his head while on the cross.

Instead of a crown of thorns, one in twenty thought he wore a cowboy hat or the Crown Jewels and almost one in ten think he had a diamond crown on his head.

The reasons and traditions for Lent also confuse many children with just 44 per cent knowing the period is to mark the time Jesus spent in the wilderness and less than two thirds are aware that traditionally, you give something up during that time.

One in ten even think it’s a length of time which allows us to get ready for all of the chocolate eggs we are going to receive at Easter.

And more than a third had no idea that Lent lasts for 40 days and 40 nights with 13 per cent believing it’s as short as 14 days.

Almost one in five children also think pancakes are traditionally eaten on Shrove Tuesday just because they taste nice and are fun to make.

The research also found that despite many youngsters not really understanding the meaning of Easter, 85 per cent look forward to it, with time off school and being able to eat lots of chocolate the best bits about it.

One in five children have also never had the chance to paint eggs at Easter, while just one in ten go to church to mark the event.

A spokesman for British Lion Eggs added: ‘’It’s important to make sure our children are aware of the traditions of Easter so they know why we do or eat certain things during that time.

“Eggs are brilliantly versatile, fun to cook with and very nutritious, so kids could do worse than feasting on the real thing this Easter."