Today (OZ is a day ahead for my US readers) starts the four day long Easter weekend in which Good Friday and Easter Monday are public holidays. Unlike that in the US where Easter Sunday is the major day of observance, Australia practically comes to a full stop on Good Friday. Why… I don’t know? I don’t believe Australians to be overly religious, there’s a definite decline in church attendance and all the world’s major religions are represented in the country. However, that doesn’t stop Easter from being one of the biggest holidays in the nation.
Aussies go crazy for Easter. In Australia, you can never start preparing for Easter too far in advance. Since 1st January you can bet your last dollar the shops have had Easter decorations and candies lining their store shelves. Chocolate eggs are everywhere and brands like Cadbury, M&Ms and Tim Tams compete for the best collector’s sets. Giant chocolate eggs cost $300 and can be made out of violet crumble or dark chocolate decorate store entrances. Every variety, shape and size is available for whatever your Easter needs.
What’s interesting to me, is that they still have the usual Easter chocolate bunnies, however, over recent years there has been a push to phase out the bunnies (because rabbits are seen as a pest) and replace them with the Australian Bilby for the chocolate. For those not familiar with a Bilby, it is an endangered desert dwelling marsupial that is dying out thanks to human encroachment and domestic and feral cats. Bilbies are only 30cm long, live in harsh desert conditions and look something like this:
There are only around 600 left in the wild and since the Bilby is an endangered species, Australians have decided to use Easter as a time to create awareness in saving the Bilbies. Chocolate makers like Haight, Darrell Lea, Cadbury and others create the chocolate Bilbies with proceeds from the sale going to a conservation/rescue fund to save the endangered animals. I do find it a bit ironic that an edible Bilby is for sale to prevent the real ones from being eaten out entirely. However in this case, what seems initially like a form of animal cruelty against an endangered species is really just for the benefit of the species. So this Easter, buy a chocolate Bilby and do the world some good! If you need an excuse to indulge in some Easter chocolate, well, just think of eating a chocolate bilby for a good cause. Happy Easter!