In 2012, an Italian chocolatier presented Benedict XVI, now pope emeritus, with a 6.5-foot-tall chocolate Easter egg weighing some 550 pounds.
Credit L'Osservatore Romano / AP
In Italy, there are no Easter egg hunts, no marshmallow Peeps and definitely no jelly beans.
Instead, there are chocolate eggs — massive, elaborately decorated, beautifully wrapped chocolate Easter eggs that now fill shop windows across the country. The sweet treats are considered Italians' food gift of choice at this time of year. And each one comes with a surprise tucked inside.
"You want something that really gives a big effect," says Rome-based food writer Elizabeth Minchilli.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer.
Greek Orthodox Christians celebrate Easter at midnight tonight. It's traditionally the biggest holiday in Greece. But there is a cloud over the celebration. Reporter Joanna Kakissis sends us this postcard from Athens and the inner-city cathedral of Saint Lucas.
Ukrainians have been crafting elaborately decorated eggs for thousands of years.
Credit Konstantin Chernichkin / Reuters/Landov
It all starts with the egg.
In spring, chickens start laying again, bringing a welcome source of protein at winter's end. So it's no surprise that cultures around the world celebrate spring by honoring the egg.
Some traditions are simple, like the red eggs that get baked into Greek Easter breads. Others elevate the egg into an elaborate art, like the heavily jewel-encrusted Faberge eggs that were favored by the Russian czars starting in the 19th century.
Tomorrow, Christians all over the world will observe Easter Sunday with joy. But what is joy? Not just happiness, laughs, or satisfaction, but joy? We turn to Father James Martin. He's a Jesuit priest, a contributing editor to America Magazine, and the author of "Between Heaven and Mirth: Why Joy, Humor and Laughter Are at the Heart of Spiritual Life." He joins us from our studios in New York.