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Easter Food

The origins of some traditional Easter foods

by Rebecca Parkinson (revised, originally published in 2012)

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To consider the origins of some traditional Easter foods.

Preparation and materials

  • Have available some hot cross buns, simnel cake and Easter eggs. Alternatively, you will need the PowerPoint slides that accompany this assembly (Easter Food) and the means to display them.


  1. Show Slides 1-3 or the food to the children.

    Ask the children to name the foods being shown. Explain that these three types of foods are traditionally eaten at Easter because they relate to the Easter story in some way.

  2. Show the simnel cake (Slide 1) to the children.

    Ask the children whether they know how this cake might relate to the Easter story in the Bible.

    Listen to a range of responses.

    Ask the children to count the number of marzipan balls on the top of the cake.

    Can they think why there would be 11?

    If they don’t know, explain that, traditionally, the balls represent Jesus’ disciples. The Bible talks about Jesus having 12 disciples, but one of them – Judas Iscariot – betrayed Jesus and handed him over to the soldiers, so the cake shows that he was no longer one of the disciples.

  3. Show the hot cross buns (Slide 2) to the children.

    Ask the children what these could represent at Easter.

    Listen to a range of responses.

    There are various traditions regarding what the buns represent, but the main one is simply that the cross reminds us of Jesus dying on the cross. In the fourteenth century, a monk called Father Rocliffe had some small, spiced cakes made, on which were stamped the shape of a cross. He gave out the buns on Good Friday as Easter presents to the poor people who lived nearby. The idea was so popular that he repeated it every year after that, and gradually, other monasteries began to do the same. Over the years, this tradition became more and more popular.

  4. Show the Easter eggs (Slide 3) to the children.

    Ask the children what these represent.

    Listen to a range of responses.

    One traditional story about the meaning of Easter eggs is that they represent the stone that was put across the doorway to Jesus’ tomb and found to have been rolled away on Easter morning because Jesus had risen from the dead. The idea is that breaking the egg symbolizes the tomb being cracked open and Jesus coming back to life.

    Eggs are also a symbol of hope and new life. This is because chicks hatch from eggs and, at Easter, this reminds us that Jesus rose from the dead.

  5. Over the years, Easter food has become more commercialized, with many people buying it because it is traditional to do so rather than thinking about or even knowing its significance. In 2019, 80 million boxed Easter eggs were sold in the UK and over 500 million Cadbury Creme Eggs were produced! Christians believe that it is important for people to be reminded of the true meaning of Easter and talking about these foods is a good way to do this.

Time for reflection

Ask the children to think about the simnel cake and its meaning. Mention that Judas was not a good friend to Jesus. Ask the following questions.

- Are you a good friend?
- Are there ways in which you could be a better friend today and during the Easter season?

Ask the children to think about the hot cross buns and to remember that Jesus gave his life on the cross.

Ask them, too, to think about the Easter eggs and thank God that Jesus came back to life and gives hope to the world.

Dear God,
Thank you for the Easter story and the hope that it brings.
Thank you for the life of Jesus and the example that he provides to us all.
Thank you that his life, death and resurrection changed the world.


Any seasonal song.

Publication date: March 2021   (Vol.23 No.3)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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