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Easter Sunday in Australia

Christians in Australia celebrate Easter Sunday as the day Jesus rose from the dead after he was crucified. Many Australians take advantage of the long-weekend for a short holiday.

Is Easter Sunday a Public Holiday?

Easter Sunday is not a public holiday. It falls on Sunday, April 12, 2020 and most businesses follow regular Sunday opening hours in Australia.

Easter Sunday

Easter Sunday is important for Christians around Australia, with special church services being held on the day.

©iStockphoto.com/Sebastien Cote

Celebrate Easter Sunday

Easter Sunday is a very important day for Christians, since the resurrection of Christ reflects a central idea in Christianity. Many Christians attend church services even if they do not attend services regularly during the rest of the year. For non-religious people and followers of other faiths, the four-day Easter weekend is a welcome break and a chance to enjoy a range of sporting and cultural events.

Well-known cultural events over the Easter weekend include the Blessing of the Fleet Festival in Ulladulla, New South Wales, the Sydney Royal Easter Show in Sydney, New South Wales, the National Folk Festival in Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, and the Australian Gospel Music Festival in Toowoomba, Queensland. There are also a range of local Easter festivals across the country. The Easter weekend is also an important time for sports fixtures and many people spend the day watching these events on television. Noteworthy sports events include major league football matches, horse racing meetings, the Brisbane to Gladstone Yacht Race, the Tasmania Three Peaks Race and the Stawell Easter Gift.

On Easter Sunday, many people receive or search for Easter eggs. These are egg-shaped and made from chocolate, candy or are decorated hens' or plastic eggs.  They are often covered in brightly colored foil or decorated with images of rabbits or chicks. Many communities groups and some families organize Easter egg hunts in parks or gardens. These are family events, usually aimed at young children.

Traditionally, Easter eggs were supposedly delivered by the Easter rabbit or bunny. This is similar to the tradition in many European countries. However, rabbits are seen as pests in Australia, as they destroy crops and natural habitats. For these reason, there has been a movement to suggest that Easter eggs are hidden by the Easter bilby. The bilby is a small, shy mammal with big ears, which is native to Australia and an endangered species. It is possible to buy Easter bilbies made from chocolate and some of the profits go to help preserve these animals.

Public Life

On Easter Sunday, nearly all organizations, businesses and many stores are closed, even if they are normally open on Sunday. There is a considerable amount of variation between trading regulations in the different states and territories of Australia. In some areas, stores are not permitted to open. In others, only certain types of stores or those in particular locations are allowed to open. Recently, there has been considerable public discussion on Easter trading regulations, so the situation may change in the future.

In some areas, public transport services operate according to the normal Sunday timetables. In others, there is a restricted service or no service at all. Check appropriate local information when planning journeys on Easter Sunday.

About Easter Sunday

Christians believe that Jesus Christ was sentenced to death by crucifixion by Pontius Pilate, the governor of Judea. He was crucified on a Friday and when he died, he was laid in a tomb. On the following Sunday, a group of women visited the tomb and found it empty. Jesus had been brought back to life. This resurrection is celebrated on Easter Sunday. The Easter date depends on the ecclesiastical approximation of the March equinox.

Many of the Easter customs originate from customs tied with the spiritual beliefs of Europeans in pre-Christian times. In Europe, Easter marked the beginning of spring. As winter passed, nature returned to life and birds began laying eggs. Small animals, such as rabbits, came out of hibernation and could be seen running around and mating in the fields.

Various symbols are associated with Easter. Christian symbols include crosses, Jesus' empty tomb and the white and gold vestments (robes) worn by priests and  church leaders. Other symbols include Easter eggs, rabbits, chocolates and the Easter bilby.

About Easter Sunday in other countries

Read more about Easter Sunday.

Easter Sunday Observances

YearWeekdayDateNameHoliday TypeArea
2015SunApr 5Easter SundayState HolidayNew South Wales
2015SunApr 5Easter SundayObservanceAll
2016SunMar 27Easter SundayObservanceAll
2016SunMar 27Easter SundayState HolidayACT, NSW, Vic
2017SunApr 16Easter SundayState HolidayACT, NSW, Qld, Vic
2017SunApr 16Easter SundayObservanceAll
2018SunApr 1Easter SundayState HolidayACT, NSW, Qld, Vic
2018SunApr 1Easter SundayObservanceAll
2019SunApr 21Easter SundayState HolidayACT, NSW, Qld, Vic
2019SunApr 21Easter SundayObservanceAll
2020SunApr 12Easter SundayState HolidayACT, NSW, Qld, Vic
2020SunApr 12Easter SundayObservanceAll
2021SunApr 4Easter SundayState HolidayACT, NSW, Qld, Vic
2021SunApr 4Easter SundayObservanceAll
2022SunApr 17Easter SundayObservanceAll
2022SunApr 17Easter SundayState HolidayACT, NSW, Qld, Vic
2023SunApr 9Easter SundayState HolidayACT, NSW, Qld, Vic
2023SunApr 9Easter SundayObservanceAll
2024SunMar 31Easter SundayState HolidayACT, NSW, Qld, Vic
2024SunMar 31Easter SundayObservanceAll
2025SunApr 20Easter SundayObservanceAll
2025SunApr 20Easter SundayState HolidayACT, NSW, Qld, Vic

We diligently research and continuously update our holiday dates and information. If you find a mistake, please let us know.

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