British Easter Traditions Explained

Easter is fast approaching and this is always a lovely time of the year to spend with the family. There are many great Easter traditions that people partake in over the holidays yet few know the history and reasons for these traditions which is a shame as many have an interesting story behind them. Read on to find out more.

Painting Eggs

Painting eggs is always fun and a chance to be creative, but have you ever wondered where this tradition comes from? In many Iran and many cultures around the world, an egg is a symbol of life and fertility so Iranians have been painting eggs as this time of year for thousands of years to celebrate the Iranian New Year which coincides with the spring equinox.

Egg Hunts

Many Easter traditions are Pagan traditions and it is believed that the egg hunts that take place stem from a tradition as far back as the 1700s when the Pennsylvania Dutch believed in an egg-laying hare known as Osterhase. This is also why Easter eggs are enjoyed at this time of the year.

Easter Baskets

Following this, the tradition of making Easter baskets can also be attributed to Osterhase. Children would fashion nests for Osterhase to come and lay eggs at their home – over time this changed to baskets but you will notice that traditional Easter baskets have grass inside which could be used as a nest.

Hot Cross Buns

Hot cross buns are slightly more obvious around Easter time and has a clear Christian background. The cross on the buns represents the crucifixion of Jesus Christ with the spices inside representing the spices used to embalm him at his burial. Hot cross buns are typically enjoyed on Good Friday to mark the end of Lent as they are made with dairy products (forbidden at this time). 

Easter Parades

Easter fashion parades can be traced back to the mid-1800s when parishioners in New York would leave churches during this time of the year and would parade their new finery. The tradition has changed and developed somewhat over the years (as many do) and now many people enjoy participating in Easter parades and there is a superstition that wearing new clothes at Easter will bring good luck for the rest of the year. 

There are many wonderful traditions which people enjoy with their family over Easter. Many of these have fascinating histories that many are unaware of so know you can impress your kids and teach them more about the reasons behind these traditions at this time of year.