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Easter Day in France

Easter Sunday in France is a time for many Christians to celebrate Jesus Christ's resurrection. People may attend special church services, eat a festive meal and search for Easter eggs.

Is Easter Day a Public Holiday?

Easter Day is not a public holiday. It falls on Sunday, April 21, 2019 and most businesses follow regular Sunday opening hours in France.

Easter Eggs and Flowers
Easter eggs are a popular among children.
Easter eggs are a popular among children.
©iStockphoto.com/Lisa Thornberg

What Do People Do?

Many Christians may attend special church services to celebrate Jesus' resurrection on Easter Sunday. Church bells are not rung on the Friday and Saturday before Easter Sunday as a general rule. This is a sign of mourning. However, church bells are rung for a long time and in a celebratory manner curing the church services on Easter Sunday. These are known as the Easter bells.

Many people spend Easter Sunday with family members or friends and eat a festive meal. Roast lamb with spring beans or other freshly harvested vegetables or leaves, brightly colored boiled eggs and omelets are popular. Easter eggs made of chocolate or candy are popular gifts and children are told that Easter hares, rabbits or bells bring the gifts.

Public Life

Public life is generally very quiet on Easter Sunday, as on other Sundays, in France. Post offices, banks, stores and other businesses are closed. Outside of tourist areas, restaurants and cafes may be closed. However, some stores in Paris, as well as at airports, railway stations and along major highways, may be open.

Public transport service schedules vary depending on where one lives and intends to travel. Museums that are normally open on Sunday may be open or closed. Churches may be closed for visitors who do not wish to take part in the services and guided tours may not be available.

Background

Easter Sunday celebrates Jesus Christ’s resurrection after his crucifixion, according to Christian belief. Jesus' crucifixion is commemorated on Good Friday. These were important events in early Christian history and symbolize central ideas in Christianity. The day after Easter Sunday is Easter Monday and it is a public holiday in France.

Symbols

Spring flowers, lambs, birds' eggs and Easter eggs are symbols of Easter Sunday in France. They are symbolic of nature's rebirth or resurrection after the dark and cold winter period.

Special biscuits known as Osterlammele are eaten in the Alsace region. They are baked in a clay mould and are in the shape of a lamb sitting on the ground. The Osterlammele were traditionally given to children after the church service on Easter Monday. Bakers now sell them and these are often decorated with ribbons and paper banners.

About Easter Day in other countries

Read more about Easter Day.

Easter Day Observances

YearWeekdayDateNameHoliday Type
2010SunApr 4Easter DayObservance
2011SunApr 24Easter DayObservance
2012SunApr 8Easter DayObservance
2013SunMar 31Easter DayObservance
2014SunApr 20Easter DayObservance
2015SunApr 5Easter DayObservance
2016SunMar 27Easter DayObservance
2017SunApr 16Easter DayObservance
2018SunApr 1Easter DayObservance
2019SunApr 21Easter DayObservance
2020SunApr 12Easter DayObservance

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