A holiday rooted in Christian tradition, Easter also coincides with the arrival of spring. As a result, many of the food traditions we observe at Easter today are a combination of religious and pagan customs.
From the Christian perspective, Easter marks the resurrection of Jesus. For 40 days before Easter Sunday, Christians use food as a way to observe the occasion, with many people giving up foodie luxuries during this time, commemorating the 40 days Jesus spent fasting in the desert. Traditionally, the foods given up were meat and eggs, although nowadays people tend to cut out modern day luxuries such as chocolate and biscuits. The end of Lent is marked with a large meal usually involving all the foods that were omitted in the previous weeks.
One food that can’t be escaped around Easter time is the chocolate Easter egg. Eggs represent Jesus’s empty tomb, but they also symbolise rebirth and new life – ideas traditionally associated with the spring season. As well as eating eggs after Lent, decorating eggs and Easter egg hunts are all popular too – the latter likely to be rooted in the rural pastime of looking for eggs in fields during spring for use in the kitchen. Chocolate Easter eggs only started to become popular from 1850 onwards.
Lamb and ham are also popular Easter foods. It’s widely assumed that if Jesus ate any meat at the Last Supper, it would have been lamb. Symbolically, Jesus is seen as being the sacrificial Lamb of God too. Ham, on the other hand, is popularly eaten around spring time because pigs were traditionally slaughtered in autumn, cured over winter, and ready to eat by spring. Ham is also seen as being a symbol of luck, tying in with the good harvests of springtime.
Hot cross buns embody various religious meanings. Marking the end of Lent, they’re traditionally eaten on Good Friday. The cross represents the crucifixion of Jesus, while the spices represent the spices used to embalm him at his burial. Nowadays, hot cross buns have become such a popular snack, they’re available year-round in some shops!
Whether you’re celebrating a religious occasion or welcoming the arrival of spring, you’re in for a treat if you choose to have your annual Easter lunch feast at The Runnymede on Thames.
At the Leftbank, enjoy a three-course buffet on Good Friday or Easter Monday. Our chefs will carve a variety of meats to go with veggies of your choice – including some carrots for your Easter bunnies, of course. Or choose from other goodies such as pasta and salads. There will also be plenty of opportunities for you to treat yourselves even more post-Lent, thanks to our groaning table of desserts.
Alternatively, enjoy a three-course Easter Sunday lunch at The Lock Bar and Kitchen. This is the place to relax while tucking into mouth-watering roasts. We also have limited availability for our ever-popular Easter Sunday buffet lunch at the Leftbank too, which includes half a bottle of wine per person or unlimited soft drinks, tea or coffee and an Easter egg for the children.
Whichever option you choose, you won’t leave hungry this Easter. That’s our Easter promise.