Easter Traditions in English-Speaking Countries

Decorated Easter eggs.
Decorated Easter eggs.

Author: Joshua Burns

Easter has arrived and many of us have holidays from work and school. Here in Spain, some of you will be preparing to take part in* the processions during Holy Week. However, in other countries, there are different traditions at Easter time.

Decorating eggs

Eggs play a central role in Easter celebrations in English-Speaking countries. There are many different ways they are used or represented, one of which is by painting them. The tradition dates back to* pagan times where eggs represented rebirth and life.

Christians incorporated this tradition into its celebrations, with some legends even claiming that Mary mother of Jesus or Mary Magdalene brought eggs to Jesus’ crucifixion. According to the story, Jesus’ blood dyed the egg* and so the tradition of painting eggs began.

Nowadays, children and adults paint the eggs and give them to each other as presents.

Easter hunts

Although the egg has always been a symbol of rebirth, early Christians took this imagery and applied it to Jesus’ tomb. This secured it as something common in Christian tradition at Easter time.

As for the egg hunt itself, the tradition is thought to have begun with Martin Luther, the Protestant Reformer. Luther wrote about hunts where the men hid the eggs and women and children searched for them. The practice didn’t make its way* to England until the 1890s, where there is a written record of English people finding the German tradition a novelty.

Today, Easter egg hunts are a popular activity for children. They may take part in them at school, at home, or at other social events.

The Easter Bunny

The Easter Bunny also dates back to pagan times when the egg was a symbol of rebirth. It is said that they celebrated a goddess of fertility who was called Eostre, and, as rabbits are associated with fertility, they took this as a symbol.
In modern times, the Easter Bunny is supposed to be a rabbit that brings eggs to children. Often, it is represented in chocolate and is eaten on Easter Sunday.

Easter baskets

Easter baskets are often used to carry the eggs that you find during the hunt. Aside from being another craft* that children can take part in, they have a deeper meaning.

The baskets are supposed to represent a nest, where the eggs would lie. Originally, the purpose was to make a nest that would attract the Easter bunny to lay its eggs. However, over time, the nest turned into an Easter basket.

Hot cross buns

Hot cross buns are a type of sweet, almost bread-like buns that have different dried fruits in them like raisins or currants. Before they are put in the oven, they are marked with a cross on top. They are usually eaten the week before Easter, and date back to the 12th century when a monk decided to make the sign of the cross on some bread to celebrate Good Friday.
Easter Parades

Easter parades are particularly famous in the United States, where there was even a classic film made called “The Easter Parade”. This tradition comes from the superstition that if you wear new clothes on Easter, you will have good look for the rest of the year.

The first parade dates back to the mid-1800s in New York when people organised an impromptu fashion show in the streets after leaving church. The tradition stuck and continues today!

There are many Easter traditions in different countries around the world. They are each as interesting as they are diverse, and they make the holiday feel completely different depending on where you are. So, this year, why not try something new and paint an egg or take part in a hunt?


Take part in: Participate in
Date back to: When it began
To dye something: To colour or stain with ink
Make its way: Arrive after a time
Craft: An activity where you make something, usually by hand

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