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Easter in Ireland

Easter Sunday (Domhnach Cásca) is an occasion for Christians to celebrate Jesus Christ's resurrection, which occurred after his crucifixion according to Christian belief. Many people in Ireland spend the day with family and friends.

Is Easter a Public Holiday?

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

A very young lamb

A young lamb, pictured above, is one of the symbols of Easter in Ireland.

©iStockphoto.com/© Petrache Alexandru Mihai

What Do People Do?

Many Christians attend a special church service on Easter Sunday to celebrate the Jesus' resurrection. Many churches have stained glass windows positioned to catch the early morning sun at this time of the year. Hence, the main church service may be timed to coincide with sunrise.

Many people join close friends and family members after the church service for a traditional Irish meal of roast meat with potatoes, vegetables and stuffing. After the meal, people, especially children, receive and eat Easter eggs. This meal may be particularly festive, as some people choose to eat no meat or sweets between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday.

Public Life

Public life is generally quiet on Easter Sunday. As on all Sundays, banks, post offices and many businesses and organizations are closed. Stores and pubs may be open or closed, even if they are usually open on Sundays. Public transport usually runs to a normal Sunday timetable and congestion is unlikely.

Background

From the earliest times, people in Ireland have marked the start of spring. They celebrated that the land had once again become fertile, birds began to lay eggs again and baby animals were born. When Christianity was introduced to Ireland, around the time St Patrick lived, many of these customs became connected with the resurrection of Jesus after his crucifixion, which is commemorated on Good Friday. Hence, the pagan beliefs around the rebirth of nature joined with the idea of Jesus' resurrection.

Symbols

Young lambs, spring flowers, eggs and birds are symbols of Easter in Ireland. As in many other countries, Easter eggs made of chocolate or candy are popular. Irish Easter eggs are generally about 12 to 20 centimeters (five to eight inches) tall and made of hollow chocolate. They are often wrapped in brightly colored foil. Many are filled or packaged with small solid chocolate eggs or other candies.

Traditionally, people wear new clothes on Easter Sunday. Some young girls wear green hair ribbons, yellow dress, and white shoes. Others may pin little crosses made of green, yellow and white ribbons on their right sleeves. These colors and new clothes signify purity and a new start to life.

About Easter in other countries

Read more about Easter.

Easter Observances

YearWeekdayDateNameHoliday Type
2015SunApr 5EasterObservance
2016SunMar 27EasterObservance
2017SunApr 16EasterObservance
2018SunApr 1EasterObservance
2019SunApr 21EasterObservance
2020SunApr 12EasterObservance
2021SunApr 4EasterObservance
2022SunApr 17EasterObservance
2023SunApr 9EasterObservance
2024SunMar 31EasterObservance
2025SunApr 20EasterObservance

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Depiction of Jesus carrying the cross up the hill.

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