An international student’s guide to Easter in the UK
Easter. The biggest event in the Christian calendar and celebrated all over the world. If you’re a Christian it marks when Christ dies and is resurrected from the dead. If you’re not religious Easter marks the celebration of Spring and new life after a long and probably cold Winter.
Read our short international student guide to the UK and find out what you can expect in the next few days, whether you observe this religious event or not.
The timeline of Easter
To understand Easter you need to know a few basics about events in biblical history:
The period of Lent takes place in the 6 weeks before Easter. For Christians it’s traditionally a period of time where they prepare themselves for Easter; prayer takes place and usually something is given up that is normally done for pleasure. Lent is supposed to be 40 days’ long, which is how long Jesus spent in the wilderness.
If you’re not religious Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday, Shrove Tuesday, Pancake Day or Carnival takes place just before Lent start. Traditionally people eat, drink and generally celebrate to excess in anticipation of having to give up something for Lent. Typical things you might give up are chocolate, TV or alcohol. In the UK many people will cook pancakes and serve them with sweet toppings, such as sugar, lemon and syrup which alludes to the feasting that takes place before Lent begins.
Once the forty days are over that leads us to Easter itself:
Good Friday is the Friday that takes places immediately after the 40 days of Lent. For Christians it is the most important day of Easter which commemorates when Jesus was crucified.
Most people in the UK will not mark the important Christian significance of this date. It’s a Bank Holiday (public holiday) so people will usually spend time with their family or go away for a holiday. A traditional event that takes place in parks to back gardens are Easter egg hunts.
Typical foods that are eaten are Easter eggs and hot cross buns, which you can find in all supermarkets, bakeries or chocolate shops.
On Easter Sunday many Christians will attend a special church service as it is the day where Jesus rose from the dead. Whether you are Christian are not, many families will get together to eat a traditional Sunday lunch. For the Easter weekend this will traditionally be roast lamb. Easter eggs are normally given to the younger and perhaps older members of the family.
In the UK Easter Monday is also a Bank Holiday. Many families will return from their holidays. The remaining Easter eggs will be eaten and people will enjoy this day off work and school.
What are traditional foods and other items?
Hot cross buns, chocolate Easter eggs, roast lamb, daffodils, baby lambs, baby chicks – all of these have either Christmas references or refer to the fact that Spring has arrived.
Where’s the best place in brighton to buy hot cross buns?
Something of Brighton institution, Ravens Bakery on Ditchling Road in the Fiveways area of the city is one of the best places to buy hot cross buns. It’s a fact that on Good Friday people will crawl out of bed at 6:00am to queue in the all types of weather to buy freshly made hot cross buns. Top tip: buy them the day before and they will still be delicious and you won’t have to queue for hours to get them!