Let’s dig into all the Easter fun facts, numbers and history, from its pagan beginnings, to its current condition, to exactly how many jelly beans we ingest during the big weekend.
Turns out, it’s a lot. But even these numbers exceeded our expectations. To sum it up: People really love Easter. And they really love celebrating Easter with all their favorites like eggs, ham, church and, of course, candy. (Gotta have those Peeps.)
Americans spend over $17 billion celebrating Easter each year — that’s an average of about $150 per family. The most expensive part of the tradition? Easter dinner, which costs the country about $5.5 million in hams and deviled eggs.
Families also spend $3 billion on clothing, with food purchases pegged at $5.5 billion.
The National Retail Federation expects retailers to sell $3 billion in clothing, $2.7 billion in gifts, $2.4 billion worth of candy, and $1.2 billion worth of flowers.
Peeps are the most popular non-chocolate Easter candy in the country, with 700 million of the little marshmallow guys eaten every year in the United States. Five million Peeps are made every day, year-round, in preparation for Easter (maybe this is why some of them taste stale).
Yellow Peeps are the most popular color of Peeps, followed by pink, lavender, blue and white. We honestly didn’t even know they made white.
Americans eat 16 billion jelly beans each Easter — enough to circle the globe three times.
When it comes to chocolate Easter bunny consumption, 89 percent of people think you should eat the ears first. Six percent start at the feet, and 5 percent gnaw the tail first (who are these people!?).
Historians believe that eggs are part of the Easter holiday because of the event’s ties to ancient pagan celebrations, where eggs symbolized fertility, birth and the coming of spring.
The Easter Bunny himself might also be a symbol of older traditions tied to fertility and spring. And he was originally a she. Rabbits are famously fertile, and baby bunnies are a sign of new life after a long winter. More specifically, the pagan god of fertility, Eostre, was symbolized by the rabbit.
Having lamb for Easter dinner is tied to the Jewish roots of Easter and Passover — as the animal was often offered as a sacrifice way back when.
Jelly beans were invented during the Civil War and first advertised when a Boston candy-maker suggested sending the candies to Union soldiers. Jelly beans didn’t become a popular part of Easter until the 1930s, though, and only then because of their egg-like shape.
Before jellybeans and chocolate bunnies became synonymous with the holiday, hot cross buns were a popular Easter treat.
According to Guinness World Records, the largest Easter egg was over 34 feet high and weighed nearly 16,000 pounds.