Downplaying of 'Easter' leads to egg hunt controversy in UK

Theresa May slammed the stance of a conservation charity as "absolutely ridiculous"

Downplaying of 'Easter' leads to egg hunt controversy in UK

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British Prime Minister Theresa May has waded in a row over the use of the word 'Easter' in the marketing of chocolate egg hunts.

Her comments came as the National Trust - the UK conservation charity which maintains many historical & natural attractions - updated a page about Cadbury events to include a reference to 'this Easter' in the headline.

Although the text on the webpage always contained several references to Easter, a number of church leaders were among those who criticised the initial lack of any reference to the Christian holiday from the headline and logo.

Image: National Trust

The Guardian reports that the annual events were previously dubbed the 'Easter Egg Trail', but are referred to as the 'Great British Egg Hunt' this year.

The Archbishop of York - Dr John Sentamu - suggested any removal of the word Easter "is tantamount to spitting on the grave of Cadbury".

He told the Daily Telegraph: "The Cadburys were great Quaker industrialists. If people visited Birmingham today in the Cadbury World they will discover how Cadbury's Christian faith influenced his industrial output.

"He built houses for all his workers, he built a church, he made provision for schools. It is obvious that for him Jesus and justice were two sides of the one coin."

One of John Cadbury's descendants, however, pointed out he 'didn't celebrate Easter' as a Quaker (Quakers do not typically celebrate the major Christian holidays, or only have low-key celebrations):

"Absolutely ridiculous"

Theresa May, meanwhile, criticised the conservation charity over the matter.

Speaking to ITV News, she argued: "I'm not just a vicar's daughter - I'm a member of the National Trust as well.

"I think the stance they have taken is absolutely ridiculous. I don't know what they are thinking about frankly.

"Easter's very important... It's a very important festival for the Christian faith for millions across the world," she added.

Both Cadbury and the National Trust defended their marketing of the events.

The chocolate company said "we clearly state the word Easter" across communication, promotional and marketing material.

"We invite people from all faiths and none to enjoy our seasonal treats, which can be found around Easter time," they added.

The National Trust, meanwhile, suggested: “It’s nonsense to suggest the National Trust is downplaying the significance of Easter. Nothing could be further from the truth [...] A casual glance at our website will see dozens of references to Easter throughout."

It also notes that Cadbury "will always lead on the branding and wording for its campaigns".

Additional reporting by IRN