10 things to know about Easter in the UK
31 March 2010

  • Easter is a religious holiday when Christians remember the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. Easter is a moveable festival, and its date varies between March 22 and April 25. This year Good Friday is on April 2.
  • However, most British people are not churchgoers and do not celebrate Easter as a religious holiday. Easter is traditionally associated with spring and you will see lots of baby chickens and rabbits in advertising.
  • Easter is a long weekend, with public holidays (called Bank Holidays) on the Friday and the Monday. Most workplaces are closed on Good Friday and Easter Monday. More and more shops are open on the Friday, Sunday and Monday, but usually for shorter hours. If you are making a special journey you might want to check whether shops are open first.
  • You will see Easter eggs everywhere - usually made of chocolate and with a packet of sweets inside. These are given to children on the Sunday. Sometimes Easter egg hunts are organised so that children can look for eggs and eat those they find.
  • It is also traditional to paint hard-boiled hens' eggs. Sometimes these are rolled downhill in races. For details of special Easter events, check here
  • Another traditional food for Easter is Hot Cross Buns, which are a small, sweet, fruited bread with a cross on top, usually made of pastry. You can eat these cold, or toasted with butter. You can buy them in bakeries, or in packs from supermarkets.
  • Another traditional Easter treat is Simnel cake, which is not so easy to find as hot cross buns. Simnel cake is a fruitcake with a thin layer of marzipan (almond paste) in the middle and on top. The cake sometimes has 11 balls of marzipan on top to represent the apostles of Jesus.
  • Lots of British people use the Easter holiday to work in their homes and gardens. Do-It-Yourself shops, which sell gardening and decorating items, are usually very busy as people brighten up their homes and gardens after the winter.
  • Family gatherings are also popular, as you will discover if you are in homestay accommodation. Roast meals are very popular, and lamb is a traditional part of the menu. If the weather forecast is good, braver people may also have the first barbecue of the year.
  • Easter is also a popular time for people to travel on holiday or a short break. Airports can be very busy and traffic can be bad on motorways and close to the sea, if the weather is sunny. It's worth checking travel websites such as http://www.bbc.co.uk/travelnews/.


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