Candy's not key part of Easter

Friday, March 25, 2016

A popular cartoon shows two chocolate Easter bunnies. One, which has its tail bit off, says "My butt hurts!"

The other, missing its ears, says "What?"

If you're like most Americans, the first one belongs to you. Eighty-nine percent of us eat the ears first, 6 percent start with the feet and 5 percent with the tail.

You're also in the majority, 65 percent, if you prefer milk chocolate to dark chocolate, 27 percent.

It took a lot of chocolate to make the largest Easter egg ever made, 24 feet high, weighing 16,000 pounds, and the largest bunny was 12 feet tall, weighed 6,635 pounds and took four South Africans three days to sculpt.

Candy makers are cashing in, of course, with M&Ms offering pastel spring colors for the past 30 years, and Reese's making peanut butter eggs.

The first chocolate Easter eggs appeared in Europe in the early 1800s.

But it's not all about the chocolate.

Candy companies turn out as many as 5 million Marshmallow Peeps a day to get ready for Easter, a process that used to take 27 hours per peep in 1953, but which now takes only six minutes. Most of them are yellow, but others are pink, lavender, blue and white.

We eat 16 billion jellybeans each year, enough, which lined end-to-end, would circle the globe nearly three times.

William Schrafft is thought to have invented them in his Boston candy shop, running advertisement urging people to send jellybeans to soldiers fighting in the Civil War.

Most kids age 6-11 like to eat jellybeans one at a time, but nearly a quarter, most of them boys, eat them by the handful.

It's a good season for celebration, especially with green grass and daffodils showing their colors after this week's snowstorm in Southwest Nebraska.

While they enjoy the candy as much as anyone, devout Christians here and around the world remember the message of one who died for their sins on Good Friday, rising three days later to offer eternal life.

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