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A Guide to Celebrating a Vegan Easter

By KD Angle-Traegner on April 1, 2017

Easter is a Christian holiday celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It’s commonly celebrated with lots of food and family activities such as dyeing eggs, egg hunts, and the gifting of chocolate bunnies, jelly beans, and other confections via Easter baskets.

Because Easter is so egg-centric, it might be confusing how to create a fun-filled vegan version of the holiday. Never fear! It’s incredibly easy to find vegan versions of all the traditions that make Easter celebrations so special. Want a simple but elegant vegan menu? Vegan chocolates? Vegan jelly beans? Vegan Easter baskets?

I’ve got you covered.

Menu

Shopping Guide

Vegan Ham, Lamb, and Turkey Brands

Every Easter my grandmother would prepare a ham roast for our family gathering. I didn’t eat it, I’ve always had a strong dislike for most animal products- but my family did. In fact, it was something that they really looked forward to each year. As a vegan, I’m always looking for ways to incorporate vegan products into family traditions. I’ve put together a list of vegan alternatives to take center stage at holiday gatherings. They are easily found at health food or natural food markets, but I’ve linked to their websites as well in case you’d like to look online for them.

Vegan Chocolate & Candy for Easter

When I was a child, my mom would make homemade chocolate bunnies and chocolate lollipops every Easter to put inside our Easter baskets. It’s one of my fondest memories, and now that my mom has passed away, it’s one of the ones I treasure the most. Just because you’re vegan doesn’t mean missing out on the things you love, like chocolate. I’ve put together a list of chocolatiers and candy makers that offer sweet treats, perfect for vegan Easter baskets. 

Chocolates & Confections

vegan easter candy

Basket & Chocolates by No Whey Vegan Chocolates

vegan easter candy

Vegan Marshmallow Bunnies by Sweet & Sara

The Tradition of Dyeing Easter Eggs

Easter is ubiquitous with pretty pastel colors and dyeing eggs is a tradition for many families. Most of the food colors found in grocery stores are artificially colored. There are several very important things to understand about artificial food colors that I would like to tell you about.

First, they are made from toxic chemicals achieved through the wonder of chemistry and the industry of oil drilling. They have terrible side effects on human health that range from simple skin or eye irritants and hyperactivity in children, to the more complex side effects such as being endocrine disruptors and/or lung irritants.

Related Reading: Warning – What You Don’t Know About Food Colors

Secondly, artificial food colors are tested on animals such as cats, mice, rats, bunnies, and beagles. That’s right- animals are dying so we can have unnecessary brightly colored food. It’s shocking, I know. Don’t worry. You can save lives and avoid the nasty side effects of artificial food colors by simply making your own from ingredients you probably already have in your pantry.

Vegan Food Coloring

How to Make Homemade Food Coloring

Making a rainbow of pretty colors at home couldn’t be easier, all you need is a little bit of know how. That is where I come in. I’ve written detailed instructions on how to make some of the most popular colors to help guide the way. Trust me, making your own colors could not be easier.

Look at those colors! Aren’t they pretty? All homemade, all natural- no artificial dyes, no weird chemicals, just simple ingredients found right inside your fridge and pantry. 

Learn how to make a rainbow of colors like these at home by clicking here.

Purchasing Pre-made Colors

If you would prefer to buy natural dyes and sprinkles, no problem. I have found a few companies that make dyes that are colored with vegetable juice and/or spices and contain no synthetic dyes.

  • India Tree India Tree has a full line of colors and sprinkles that are colored with vegetable juice and/or spices and contains no synthetic dyes. These are the sugars and colors that I use and I love them. A note about India Tree products, not all of their product line is vegan. Some of the sprinkles contain beeswax so be sure to check the label prior to purchasing. Look for sprinkles made with raw sugar and carnauba wax, which is made from the leaves of the palm plant. The India Tree Decorating Sugars Variety Set and this 3-pack of India Tree Natural Decorating Colors Set make a great starter set combo and are both vegan and free of artificial junk. 
  • Natural Earth PaintNatural Earth has a full line of products to choose from. They come in biodegradable packaging and are made from pure, natural earth and mineral pigments and organic ingredients. They are free from preservatives, heavy metal toxins, solvents, as well as synthetics and fillers. They’re also archival. This natural egg dye kit is perfect for those who are looking to dye artificial eggs.

Egg-Free “Eggs” for Decorating

The tradition of dyeing eggs for Easter is something that many families participate in. But why not just use chicken eggs? If you remember only one fact about egg production, let it be this: Male chicks don’t produce eggs, therefore they are useless to egg producers and so they are killed. Most often they are ground up alive or suffocated together in large garbage bags.

Traditions are important. Here are a few alternative eggs to help you ditch the cruelty while still keeping those important family traditions.

Buying Easter Bunnies & Baby Chicks

There are many things to consider before bringing home a live animal for children. Here are a few of the most important things to know about living with bunnies and baby chickens to help you make informed choices.

What to Know About Bringing Home an Easter Bunny

The Easter Bunny is perhaps the most well-known holiday character after Santa Claus. Not only is he prominent in many family traditions, he makes appearances in Easter baskets everywhere in the form of chocolates or stuffed toys. Many well-intentioned parents may also bring a real, live Easter bunny home to excited children. While these intentions may have been good, often bringing home a rabbit ends up in badly for both the children and the rabbit.

Many people who purchase bunnies at Easter don’t realize that caring for a rabbit is a ten-year commitment. Including:

  • house-training (rabbits can be litter box trained)
  • bunny-proofing your house (rabbits like to chew on wires, boxes, papers, among other things)
  • several hours of daily playtime
  • spaying or neutering

Contrary to popular belief, rabbits are not the perfect small animal for children, who are often too much too excitable for them. Rabbits like the ground and become frightened when they are held and/or restrained. This can lead to them kicking and scratching, which can cause injury to whomever is holding them. They also have incredibly fragile spines. If they are dropped, they could break their back or worse.

easter bunny

Thousands of domestic rabbits are purchased each year for Easter. After cats and dogs, rabbits are the most prevalent animal at shelters.

Caring for a rabbit can be a lot of work. In fact, caring for a rabbit takes just as much time, attention and care as a dog or cat would. Sometimes, when people realize that they’re in over their heads, they will release their family pet into the wild – an extremely dangerous choice, since domestic rabbits are not the same as their cousins and most won’t survive outside on their own.

Because well-intentioned people can unknowingly make uninformed decisions, innocent rabbits could be the ones to pay the price. Statistics say that 95% of “Easter bunnies” given as gifts don’t make it to age one. Before committing to a rabbit, take some time to read this valuable information about the lives of rabbits at rabbitron.com.

One last thing-if you’ve done all the research and still want a rabbit, please don’t shop, adopt. Contact your local animal shelter or a rescue organization like Hug-a-Bunny Rabbit Rescue, the House Rabbit Network, or Rabbit Rescue.

Related Reading: Rescuing Rabbits: Rabbit House Society 

Caring for Candy-Colored Easter Chicks

Brightly colored newborn chicks might seem like the perfect festive Easter gift for an excited child, but nothing could be further from the truth. In reality, dyed chicks (or any animal) is a cruel practice that turns live birds into nothing more than playthings that are quickly discarded by children with short attention spans. These birds have many of the same needs as rabbits do—plenty of attention, room to roam and roost, veterinary care—and they face many of the same problems, too.

Much like rabbits, people can become overwhelmed by the idea of caring for a baby chick as it grows into adult chickens which can lead to abandonment or worse. Unfortunately, these young birds have no knowledge or experience foraging or evading predators, making death an inevitable possibility. For those that do survive, they can ban together into feral colonies, disrupting native wildlife populations. Once the populations become unmanageable, cities will enact mandatory culling of the birds. Easter chicks that are surrendered to animal shelters (if you can find one to take them) don’t fare any better. In spring, many shelters and humane societies become overburdened, and finding suitable homes for them can be a real challenge. The sad truth is, many of these chicks will eventually be euthanized because there are not enough homes for them to be adopted into.

In addition to the problems of caring for young chicks, the practice of dyeing animals is also problematic for other, ethical reasons. According to Jennifer A. Kingson at the New York Times, about half of the United States currently have laws against dyeing animals. The process is unnecessary and invasive:

“You take regular food coloring and inject it into the egg on the 18th day of incubation,” said Peter R. Theer, a retired poultry rancher who lives outside Lampasas, Texas. “They take 21 days to hatch. Put a little dab of wax on top to cover the hole up, and put it back in the incubator.”

But this is only one method of dyeing chicks. The other method is even more cruel. Newborn chicks are dumped into a large bucket or container where food coloring is poured over them. A worker will then shake and toss the chicks in the air (much like you would to toss a salad) to get them evenly coated with the dye. Some don’t survive the process, while others sustain injuries like broken bones. None of the birds make it out unscathed from the process.

Related Reading: Sickening Video Shows Tiny Chicks Being Thrown Into a Bucket and Dyed

Please remember, baby chicks might seem like a cute gift, but they grow up into adult chickens who will need time, attention, and veterinary care. Instead of offering children brightly colored chicks as real, live toys choose a cute stuffed toy instead.

Vegan Easter Recipes

Brunch   ⋅   Appetizers   ⋅   Mains   ⋅   Sides   ⋅   Desserts   ⋅   DIY Chocolate & Treats

Gluten-free = GF   ⋅   Gluten-Free Option = GFO   ⋅   Soy Free = SF   ⋅   Raw = R    

Brunch

Vegan Easter Brunch Recipes

Blueberry Oat Flour Waffes (GF + SF) | Feasting on Fruit

Air Fried Bacon Cashews | Glue & Glitter

Appetizers

Main Dishes

Vegan Easter Recipes

Maple Glazed Holiday Roast | Meet the Shannons

Vegan Recipes

Double Cream Cheese Smashed Potatoes (SF) | Your Daily Vegan

Side Dishes

Desserts

vegan easter candy

Easter Almond Baby Chicks | Fork & Beans

DIY Chocolates & Candies

Truth in Advertising

I am committed to providing accurate information to the vegan community. The information and data presented on Your Daily Vegan has been meticulously researched, and is based on information available at the time of publication. Guides are periodically reviewed for accuracy and updated as necessary. Update dates can be found at the end of every guide. Please contact me if you find out-of-date or incorrect information.

 

Photo Credit

Colorful Baby Chicks | Scott Ashkenaz

The recipe photos in this guide belong to the recipe authors as noted with each photo. Used with written permission.

This guide is authored by KD Angle-Traegner. Last update March 2017

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