In an anonymous Facebook post, they wrote: “IS IT NOW AN OFFENCE TO BE CHRISTIAN? So I go into my local co-op to buy some Easter Eggs. They sell chocolate eggs but every manufacturer has removed the word Easter. Ok so if that is the game and now as well as Christmas, Easter is a free for all.
“Then no other religion can have their named, festive religious celebrations. If Christians can’t have theirs then no other religion should have theirs either.”
The post drew attention from other Facebook users, with one commenting: “It may be a way to preserve their shelf life and encourage early sales as well as post-Easter sales.”
Allyson Stewart-Allen, chief executive of International Marketing Partners, has explained that the removal of references to Easter aims to maximise sales.
She said: “The fact brands are removing the words ‘Easter’ and ‘egg’ from their confectionary products this season is an attempt to find ways not to avoid the words but to make sure their marketing opportunities in non-Christian countries are not compromised.
“In the multi-cultural society that the UK now is it may be that the majority of target customers do not celebrate Easter and therefore being able to offer that product as a gift for non-Christians is a domestic opportunity for the manufacturers.”
On the Facebook post, some people pointed out that Easter eggs were not an original part of the religious festival, but came from pagan tradition as a symbol of spring and fertility.
Another person commented: “Remind me, when did Jesus speak of chocolate eggs before he was crucified?”
According to LeicestershireLive, Christian users responded to the post, saying whether chocolate eggs are labelled Easter or not has no effect on their beliefs.
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One said: “Easter Eggs are everywhere! I am proud to be a Christian but the labelling of chocolate confectionery really doesn’t feature in my belief.”
Confectionery giant Nestlé has said the link between chocolate eggs and Easter is now automatic now and there was no “deliberate decision” to drop the term from their eggs.
Cadbury and Nestlé insist Easter is still widely used at the companies, with Cadbury using the word in its promotions, including its annual worldwide Easter egg hunt.
Sharing chocolate Easter eggs came from Europe in the 19th century when it has remained a key tradition.
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Victorians would give cardboard eggs covered in satin and filled with Easter gifts.
Eggs were also one food Christians were not allowed to east during Lent, a period of fasting to mark Jesus’s time in the wilderness.
Eating an egg was considered a treat when Easter Sunday came around.
Retailers hope the first Easter without any lockdown restrictions since 2019 and a mini-heatwave will boost the sector.
Footfall is estimated to rise by 6.2 percent over the break compared with the weekend before, and by 13.3 percent on Saturday, according to analysts Springboard.
High streets are expected to see the greatest uplift, at 17 percent on Saturday.
The predicted rise would mean footfall in retail parks will be just 1.4 percent below the 2019 level and 11.6 percent down on high streets.
Although footfall in shopping centres is not forecast to rise as much as in high streets, the gap from 2019 will be smaller at 8.4 percent, due to a poorer performance in shopping centres in 2019.
Springboard director of insights Diane Wehrle said: “High streets and retail parks are likely to benefit more than shopping centres over the weekend as a whole.
“High streets will be supported by the forecast warm and sunny weather which will draw people to outdoor destinations, and shoppers are likely to head to retail parks to purchase garden products and food and groceries for home entertaining of family and friends.”