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British Life & Culture

Special Events and Celebrations

by Mandy Barrow

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Easter Sunday (Easter Day)
Woodlands Junior School is in the south-east corner of England

Special Easter Food

This year Easter Day is on Sunday 20 April 2014.

What is Easter?
Where does the name "Easter" come from?
When is Easter?
Why does the date of Easter move?

What happens on Easter Sunday today?

SunriseChristians gather together on Easter Sunday for a Sunrise Service. This service takes place on a hill side so everyone can see the sun rise.

Some Christians take part in an Easter vigil, lighting a new fire outside the church early on Sunday morning. The Paschal candle, decorated with studs to celebrate Christ's wounds, may be lit from the fire and carried into the church where it is used to light the candles of the worshippers. The Easter Eucharist is a particularly joyful service. It is a popular time for baptisms and renewal of baptism vows.

Some churches have an Easter Garden. A stone is placed across the mouth of a tomb before Easter, then rolled away on Easter morning.

The traditional Easter gift is a chocolate egg.

The Traditional Egg Gift

The first eggs given at Easter were birds eggs. These eggs were painted in bright colours to give them further meaning as a gift.

coloured eggs

As chocolate became more wide spread in the 20th Century, a chocolate version of the traditional painted egg was developed. The size of the chocolate egg has grown over the years and is now more likely to be the size of an ostrich egg rather than a small birds egg.

Easter Presents

Chocolate eggs are given to children. The eggs are either hollow or have a filling, and are usually covered with brightly coloured silver paper.

egg egg

Around 80 million chocolate eggs are eaten each year in Britain.

Easter Egg Hunt

Small chocolate eggs are hidden for the children to find on the traditional Easter Egg Hunt. In recent years this game has been linked to the Easter Bunny, which only arrived in England relatively recently.

Easter cards

Easter cards arrived in Victorian England, when a stationer added a greeting to a drawing of a rabbit. The cards proved popular.

Special Food at Easter

After the lean months of winter and the fast weeks of Lent, food at Easter was always a special treat.

Easter day, like Christmas day, is also associated with special food.

Boiled eggs are traditionally served at breakfast, then Easter cards and gifts may be exchanged.

Roast lamb, which is the main dish at Jewish Passover, is the traditional meat for the main meal on Easter Day. It is served with mint sauce and vegetables.

The traditional Easter pudding is custard tarts sprinkled with currants and flat Easter biscuits.

Simnel cake is baked for tea.

The Simnel cake is a rich fruitcake covered with a thick layer of almond paste (marzipan). A layer of marzipan is also traditionally baked into the middle of the cake.

Eleven balls of marzipan are placed around the top to represent the eleven true disciples (excluding Judas). Originally the simnel cake was a gift to mothers on Mothering Sunday in Mid Lent.

Click here for a recipe for Simnel Cake

Easter Biscuits

Easter Biscuits are sometimes called "Cakes", and are eaten on Easter Sunday. They contain spices, currants and sometimes grated lemon rind.

Easter Holidays

Many families go away on holiday for the Easter weekend.

A traditional and still very popular holidays are taken at holiday camps, providing all around entertainment for holiday makers since the 1940s.

My Easter

Click here to read about how James, a 13 year old boy in England, celebrates Easter.

Easter in Germany

Here in Germany, it is the Easter bunny who brings Easter eggs to children. He hides them, for example in the garden, for the children to find them! It's a lot of fun.

Today, children also receive other things like Easter eggs of course. The Easter eggs are colourful, too.

Nadine Jendrusch

Find out how we celebrate Easter Monday next page

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Mandy is the creator of the Woodlands Resources section of the Woodlands Junior website. 
The two websites and 
are the new homes for the Woodlands Resources.

Mandy left Woodlands in 2003 to work in Kent schools as an ICT Consulatant. 
She now teaches computers at The Granville School and St. John's Primary School in Sevenoaks Kent.