What do we love about Easter in the UK?

Edgary Rodriguez

BY Edgary Rodriguez

30th Mar 2024 Life

5 min read

What do we love about Easter in the UK?
Easter is a fun and special time of the year for people in the UK for multiple reasons, from Easter eggs and hot cross buns to Easter traditions and springtime weather 
Although Christmas is a lovely time of the year, Easter marks a holiday of more pleasant weather. A moment to say goodbye to the winter blues and welcome spring! That is why Easter has a special place in the hearts of people in the United Kingdom.
We take a look at family and cultural traditions, quite unique to the UK, and ask our readers what Easter means to them, the memories of childhood and the customs of their community that are like a warm embrace at this time of the year.

A love of Easter since childhood 

During elementary school, Philippa Willitts, a writer and editor based in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, usually hand-made Easter cards for her family before the Easter holidays while growing up in Wigan, Lancashire.
“I also remember creating Easter bonnets at school when I was around nine or ten, which we decorated with paint and accessories before a prize was given to the child who had made the best one.” Despite fond memories of the time, Willitts admits that she was not that child.
For Nadia Ismail, a content creator of the SouthBankFoodie account, having her birthday around Easter was no fun at all. The Patisserie enthusiast, based in London, saw some of her chocolate earnings dwindle in her childhood. 
"Easter has a special place in the hearts of people in the United Kingdom"
“I was a bit unlucky in the fact that my birthday always falls near Easter and my mother, thinking I had far too much chocolate to actually consume, would melt these hollow delights and turn them into the most decadent chocolate cake,” Ismail says.
However, her mother’s creativity may have been the beginning of her love of food and her passion for showing it to the world: “I remember her reshaping mini chocolate eggs into bugs of similar shapes and using the white, dark and milk versions to make different patterns.”
After all, the love of food comes from home, in gatherings around the table that begin in the kitchen. Willitts remembers making Easter nests with her grandmother, “crushing Shredded Wheat breakfast cereal and mixing it with melted chocolate to create a bird’s nest, which we filled with chocolate eggs.” A memory she will treasure forever. “Happy times!” she says.

An outsider's view of Easter in the UK 

“Easter in England is a diverse celebration. Depending on the family or religious background, there are different traditions,” says Gabriela Shepherd, a Lincoln resident with experience in educational and administrative roles. 
Easter chocolate and decorations
When Shepherd moved to England, she was struck by the Easter decorations, which were unusual for her. “People get a lot of decorations for this season…Easter rabbits (colourful rabbits), wreaths, chocolate eggs, which tend to be of bright colours, artificial flowers and garlands to decorate the inside of the house, to make that special spring environment for kids.”
For José Rodríguez, a clinical psychologist based in Cambridge, it represented a change in the way of calling the holidays, and not just for the language: for Hispanics there is no Easter Monday, instead, the long weekend begins on Thursday and ends on Resurrection Sunday; meanwhile, in Spanish it’s not very common to use the term Pascua (Easter), this holiday is mostly known as Semana Santa (Holy Week). 

Different beliefs and Easter

“Growing up Catholic meant that, for me, Easter Sunday started with going to Mass, before a family roast dinner and giving and receiving Easter eggs. At least once, the church held a picnic for Easter when the weather was nice,” Willitts says.
Meanwhile, Shepherd had the opportunity to participate in a Church of England tradition, Maundy Thursday: “A religious ceremony during the Easter week (Thursday) in which the vicar or priest washes people’s hands during the service as a symbol of what Jesus Christ did, the day he washed his disciple’ feet.”
"Easter is a meeting point for the population to celebrate traditions alongside their families"
Easter is an important event for Christians, but it goes beyond the religions in the UK. This holiday is a meeting point for the population to celebrate traditions alongside their families. 
"My husband is English and his family doesn’t celebrate Easter as they are not religious. So, my English family doesn’t have any tradition apart from buying chocolate eggs for the children for Easter Sunday," Rodríguez says. 

A love for chocolate

“These days, [as an adult] Easter is an excuse to eat chocolate and enjoy the Bank Holiday,” Willitts says.
Chocolate is one of the best things in the world, at least most people think so. In the UK it’s central to Easter. When asked about this holiday, everyone mentioned chocolate, their experience with Easter eggs and how it’s the best opportunity to indulge in this pleasure.
“People give you chocolate rabbits as little presents for the festivity, and kids get to search the Easter eggs—normally hidden in different parts of the house,” Shepherd says.
Easter chocolate
“Easter for me means one thing: chocolate!” Ismail says. The bittersweet memory of her mother making cake with melted chocolate pieces for her birthday didn’t fade her love—you can notice it on her Instagram account where she shares the delights of desserts in London, many of them with chocolate.
“I have fond memories carrying large bags to school filled with Easter eggs to share with my friends and once the day had finished returning with just as many bags filled with kindly received chocolate,” Ismail recalls. 
Chocolate and other desserts are delicious, but as your palate differs according to your customs and culture, for immigrants in the UK, some Easter eggs such as the traditional Creme Egg can be very cloying. 
"I’ve heard from several immigrants that they don’t like that egg [Creme Egg] and that you can only eat it if you grew up eating it. It’s extra sweet and it’s cloying. I’ve brought it to my nieces and nephews who live outside the UK and they don’t like it," Rodríguez says. 

Between fasting and delicious food

Rodríguez explains that some families feast on a day dedicated to pancakes with all kinds of toppings, marking the beginning of Lent and fasting. After the season of abstinence for some Christians, Easter brings typical tasty foods, and it’s not just about chocolate. Some of the traditional treats include simnel cake, Easter biscuits, roast lamb and hot cross buns—one of the must-haves.
"Easter represents the passing of the seasons, bringing more pleasant times and chasing away the winter blues"
“Hot cross buns are always a firm favourite: slice them, toast them, and indulged with lashings of butter, melting into the pockets of raisins,” Ismail recommends. 
For many British people, Easter represents the passing of the seasons, bringing more pleasant times and chasing away the winter blues. Thus, the love of this holiday also has a lot to do with sunshine and good weather. 
“For me, it symbolises the start of spring, when the days are less dull and the flowers start to grow and the sky gets more blue, so it’s a relief after an inevitably long, grey, cold winter,” Willitts says. 
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