According to the Wicca Book of Days, the painting of hard boiled eggs was a Pagan custom associated with the Eostre, the Goddess of fertility.
Mammalian and placental mammals also go through an oestrus cycle, where hormones trigger the physiological response necessary for the rendering of new life (also referred to as the menstrual cycle). So the name has some clout. Rabbits were also symbols of fertility, thus being well placed as part of our modern practices.
Like many Pagan traditions, Easter was Christianized by the church to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ and in the Judeo tradition, the commemoration of Passover which, according to modern Jewish celebrants, is a way of saying “we made it, let’s eat!” During passover, eggs are prepared and eaten in a special way, echoing Paganism, only with the story of Moses and a rebirth for Jewish people, away from that nasty Pharaoh.
The influence of the church has diminished in the Western world, replaced by capitalist ideals. Rather than being a day to remember a famous revolutionary, we feed on backs of people living in slave-like conditions.
The sugar industry has been well documented for mistreating their employees and families. With only the corporation’s overpriced food rations available in the resident’s region, workers set out on empty stomachs to harvest sugar cane for grueling long hours in the field. There is a long history of human exploitation in the Caribbean Islands, but it continues to this day.
This human rights violation also follows poor environmental practices: clearing forest land to plant mono-crops, all for companies like Nestle who sell inexpensive products to a confused world. Jesus Christ! What has this world come to?
As people who are more consumer than citizen, the best thing we can do to help alleviate the crippling effects of an acutely chocolately event like Easter is to buy fair trade, organic chocolates for your friends and family. Put your money towards companies that actually care about the well-being of the people who work for them and who don’t run the Earth ragged with their financial pursuits.
If you have kids, use it as an opportunity to teach them about how our traditions have morphed into what they are today.