Home   Calendar   Holidays   the United Kingdom   Easter Sunday

Easter Sunday in the United Kingdom

Easter Sunday, also called Resurrection Sunday, is a Christian observance celebrating the resurrection of Christ. In the UK, it is common to organize Easter egg hunts and get together for lunch with friends and family.

Egg hunts are popular all over the UK on Easter Sunday.
Egg hunts are popular all over the UK on Easter Sunday.
©iStockphoto.com/DGLimages

Is Easter Sunday a Bank Holiday?

As Sunday is already a non-working day in the United Kingdom, so Easter Sunday is a day off for most people although it is not formally defined as a bank holiday. In the UK, it is common to use the term bank holiday to refer to all public holidays.

Two of the other days of the Holy Week, Good Friday and Easter Monday, are bank holidays in all or most of the UK. The other days, Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, and Holy Saturday are not bank holidays.

Are Shops Open on Easter Sunday?

In England and Wales, opening hours are limited on Easter Day. Shops over 280 square meters are closed, while smaller stores are allowed to open, but may not always do so. In Scotland, there are no restrictions, and retailers are allowed to open. Nearly all other non-essential businesses and organizations in the UK are closed on Easter Sunday.

Egg Hunts and Easter Bunny

Like in most western countries, such as the USA, Canada, Australia, and many more, Easter Sunday in the UK holds old non-religious traditions. People give each other chocolate Easter eggs and Easter bunnies or hollow plastic or cardboard eggs filled with candy. Egg hunts take place all over the UK. Many children are told that the Easter bunny hides eggs in nature or the garden, and are sent out to hunt for them.

In some parts of the United Kingdom, people have egg-rolls where they roll hard-boiled eggs down slopes. In other places, there is a game where people roll hard-boiled eggs against other peoples' eggs. The winner is the person whose egg remains whole. After the game, the eggs are eaten. In some parts of Scotland, fondant filled chocolate eggs about the size of a hen's egg are covered in batter and deep-fried.

Easter Sunday Roast and Daffodils

In the UK, it is common to invite family and friends for Easter Sunday lunch, and the most traditional dish is a lamb roast. Common decorations are dyed or painted eggs, little yellow chicks, bunnies, and spring flowers, such as daffodils, white lilies, and tulips. The colors yellow or gold are usually associated with Easter, as these are the colors the Church of England uses for the Easter Sunday celebrations.

Where Do Easter Eggs Come From?

One theory is that eggs are associated with Easter because it occurs in the spring. In pre-Christian times, there were pagan spring festivals, and eggs symbolized new life and new beginnings. However, dyed eggs are also part of the Christian Easter story.

Who Celebrates Easter in the UK?

Easter Sunday is one of the biggest celebrations of Christianity, and there are special church services in the UK on Easter Sunday. According to the Pew Research Center between 46% and 59% of the British population as a whole considered themselves Christian in 2014. However, a lot of people who do not see themselves as Christian also take part in Egg hunts and family traditions. In fact, UK chocolate makers have recently started producing halal Easter eggs, indicating that also people of other faiths enjoy Easter treats.

Why Is it Called Easter?

Noone knows for sure where the English name Easter comes from. The most common explanation is that it is derived from the Anglo-Saxon goddess Eostre. She was associated with spring and fertility and was celebrated around the vernal equinox. This theory was first introduced in the late-seventh-century by Bede ("The Venerable"), a historian from Anglo-Saxon England. In most other languages, the name is derived from the Hebrew word Pesach, the Jewish holiday Passover.

Why Is Easter on Different dates Every Year?

The date for Easter Sunday is the first Sunday after the first Full Moon on or after the March equinox.

Easter Bus Times

Public transport systems may run on a different schedule during the Easter week. Sunday timetables often apply on bank holidays. In some areas in the UK, there may be no public transport on Easter Sunday.

About Easter Sunday in other countries

Read more about Easter Sunday.

Easter Sunday Observances

WeekdayDateYearNameHoliday TypeWhere It is Observed
SunApr 42010Easter SundayObservance, Christian 
SunApr 242011Easter SundayObservance, Christian 
SunApr 82012Easter SundayObservance, Christian 
SunMar 312013Easter SundayObservance, Christian 
SunApr 202014Easter SundayObservance, Christian 
SunApr 52015Easter SundayObservance, Christian 
SunMar 272016Easter SundayObservance, Christian 
SunApr 162017Easter SundayObservance, Christian 
SunApr 12018Easter SundayObservance, Christian 
SunApr 212019Easter SundayObservance, Christian 
SunApr 122020Easter SundayObservance, Christian 

Quick Facts

Easter Sunday is a Christian holiday that commemorates Jesus Christ's resurrection. It is also celebrated with Easter egg hunts.

Easter Sunday 2018

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Easter Sunday 2019

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Advertising

Name in other languages

NameLanguage
Easter SundayEnglish
Første påskedagNorwegian

List of dates for other years

Related holidays

Other holidays in April 2018 in the United Kingdom

World Holiday on April 1, 2018

Fun Holiday on April 1, 2018

You might also like

The Hindu deity Rahu.

Solar Eclipse Myths

The solar eclipse has inspired many mythical stories and influenced human behavior. Even today, eclipses of the Sun are considered bad omens in many cultures. more

Watching Lunar Eclipses

A lunar eclipse can be seen with the naked eye, unlike solar eclipses, which have special safety requirements. more

December Solstice Facts

10 things you may not know about the December Solstice, the shortest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. more