Easter, asides from being an excuse to devour more chocolate than usual, is also one of the oldest Christian traditions. The festivity celebrates the last week of Jesus’ life, his death, and his resurrection. This is the reason Easter is defined as a Christian holiday.
Easter dates in the UK
The Easter season in the UK comprises 40 days of lent, holy week and concludes with Easter Sunday, which is known as Resurrection Sunday. Good Friday is celebrated across the UK, while Easter Monday rejoices everywhere apart from Scotland.
Easter holiday dates
Easter will take place on the following dates in the coming years if you wish to mark the dates on your calendars and in your diaries.
2019: This year Good Friday falls on 19 April 2019, with Easter Monday taking place on 22 April 2019.
2020: Next year Good Friday takes place 10 April 2020, with Easter Monday on the 13 April 2020.
2021: Good Friday will take place on 2 April 2021, with Easter Monday on the 5 April 2021.
2022: Good Friday is set to take place on 15 April 2022, and Easter Monday on 18 April 2022.
2023: 7 April is the date Good Friday will fall on in 2023, with Easter Monday being hosted on 10 April 2023.
2024: Good Friday will fall on 29 March 2024, with Easter Monday falling the following Monday; 1 April 2024.
2025: 18 April is the date of Good Friday in 2025, with Easter Monday falling on 21 April 2025.
The Easter weekend is the first public holiday period of the year that brings with it beautiful spring-like weather. It’s a time when people start to get a spring in their step and want to spend more time outdoors.
Why the date changes every year
Unlike Christmas, Easter isn’t held on a set date each year. It is however always on a Sunday. It also varies in date by country. The UK follows the Gregorian calendar and hosts Easter festivities on the Sunday following the first full moon (the first day of spring). Using this timeline, Easter can vary in date from as early as the 22 March to as far into spring as the 25 April.
Maundy Thursday (now Monday)
Easter in the UK begins on the Thursday before Easter. This date is nicknamed Maundy Thursday and celebrates the last day of Jesus’ life and the day of the Last Supper. The date takes its name from the French word “mande”, which translates to ‘mandate’ and rejoices the last command Jesus gave to his followers,: ‘love one another as I have loved you’. This date has since moved to Monday.
The United Kingdom celebrate Good Friday to commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. It is a day of mourning in the UK. Churches appear unlit and bare, with no beautifications or blooms. Certain churches even cover statues and paintings. It’s tradition for them to hold a ceremony at 3 o’clock, as this is said to be the time that Jesus perished on the cross. Many church services will integrate dramatic readings and passion plays into their services. Hot cross buns are habitually eaten by Christians in the UK on Good Friday. The bread, due to the shape of the cross that appears across the top of the bun, is seen as a reminder of Jesus dying for everyone’s sins.
There are several fallacies surrounding hot cross buns. Some say that when baked on Good Friday, they would never go off. Others say that if left to go stale and harden, they would be able to defend a house from a fire. Sailors also commonly took them to sea, as a good luck charm and to protect them from being shipwrecked.
The Saturday before Easter is referred to as ‘Holy Saturday’. It is said to be the day that Jesus lay in the tomb and as is a day that people use to think about his sacrifice, while preparing for the weekend’s Easter merriments.
For the church, Easter Sunday is one of the most important dates in the diary. It signifies the remembrance of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead, and suggests that death is not the end of our journey. The churches celebrate Easter Sunday with bell ringing, beautiful Easter flowers, (traditionally white lilies) and a white and gold hued pallet. Some churches host sunrise services while others execute their services on a hillside. An Easter vigil is held on Sunday morning in the shape of a fire lighting ceremony using a candle called the Paschal Candle. The service is considered to be a jubilant event in contrast to the mourning ceremonies of the prior days.