Millions of children don’t know the true meaning of Easter – with one in three believing it is to celebrate the Easter Bunny’s birthday.
A study carried out among 1,000 six-to-ten year olds found 53 per cent are unaware of the religious significance of this weekend.
One in 20 said it was to mark Jesus’s birthday, while six out of ten didn’t know why eggs were a feature of Easter.
More than a quarter believed Easter was an anniversary of the invention of chocolate but less than half knew the celebrations are to celebrate the resurrection of Christ.
Yesterday a spokesman for British Lion eggs, which commissioned the research, said: ”Almost every youngster looks forward to Easter, yet it seems few actually know why they are celebrating it.
”It’s shocking to think that many think Easter is marking the Easter Bunny’s birthday, and eating eggs is just about chocolate.
”Eggs have long been associated with Easter as they are a springtime symbol of new life.
”Easter Sunday also marks the end of Lent – historically hens kept producing eggs, even though people stopped eating them during Lent, so there was a surplus for everyone to enjoy on Easter Sunday.
”However, for children, it seems Easter is really about chocolate eggs rather than the meaning behind them.”
The study also revealed just 37 per cent knew Jesus died on Good Friday, with 30 per cent believing this was the day the Easter Bunny was born.
One in four didn’t know Jesus wore a crown made out of thorns on his head while he was on the cross.
Bizarrely, more than one in ten thought he wore the crown jewels while three per cent thought he wore a hat or helmet.
The meaning of Lent also left many children scratching their heads with just 40 per cent knowing it marked Jesus’ time in the wilderness.
Almost 32 per cent thought it was to get ready for spring.
Fifteen per cent were also unaware that it was traditional to give something up over Lent, with more than one in 20 believing that eating lots of food and attending parties was the usual way of marking the period.
Researchers also found that getting time off school is the best thing about Easter for 45 per cent of children, while another 25 per cent simply look forward to eating lots of chocolate.
Nine out of ten children get given an average of five Easter eggs from their friends and relatives, with more than two thirds having an Easter egg hunt each year.
More than half also mark the Easter period by decorating eggs.