Easter traditions still alive today

Explore the UK’s Easter traditions, many of which date to pagan and medieval times, and embrace age old customs, such as Egg Rolling or indulging in Hot Cross Buns this Easter. 

10th April 2017

Egg Rolling:

Did you know? Egg Rolling has been an Easter tradition for hundreds of years, and is one of the most popular activities over Easter. Traditional egg rolling involved using marbled eggs, which had been wrapped in onionskins and boiled and were covered in beautiful, golden, marbled patterns. On Easter Sunday, these were eaten for breakfast, and any remaining eggs were rolled down the local hill as a competition, where children gathered to see how far their egg rolled without cracking.

Today, egg rolling takes place throughout the UK with traditional, painted, and boiled eggs. This Easter, why not take a trip to Holcombe, near Ramsbottom for their annual egg rolling event, or climb the verges leading to Arthur’s Seat, where you can roll your egg and enjoy the spectacular views of Edinburgh and the Scottish coast.


Photo Credit: iStock


Indulging in Hot Cross Buns:

Hot Cross Buns are one of the most popular toasted treats eaten in the UK over Easter. They even have their own 'National Hot Cross Bun Day', and there are many myths surrounding them.

Their fame can be traced to pagan times when the bun represented the moon, the heavenly body associated with Eostre the Saxon fertility Goddess, and its four quarters. Christians then embraced the tradition of the bun, changing the meaning of the cross to represent Christ’s Cross. So, with its roots stretching far back, there is every reason to continue the tradition and indulge in a bun this Easter. Whether you go to the bakery, or whip up some yourself, enjoy a scrumptious Hot Cross bun this Easter.


Photo Credit: iStock


Egg Dancing:

Although less well known, Egg Dancing is a custom practised in many parts of the country over Easter. Brought to England by the Saxons in the 5th century, and first recorded in 1498, Egg Dancing has long been part of our history.

Traditionally the game involved villagers dancing around eggs laid on the ground, attempting to avoid stepping on them. Variations included drawing a chalk circle on the floor, and using one foot to roll an egg out of a bowl. Participants had to keep it in the circle, and turn the bowl upside down on top of the egg. Over Easter why not embrace this age-old tradition, and find an Egg Dancing event near you. Visit Ironbridge, where between the 29th March and 10th April, blindfolded townsfolk will dance across the street, attempting to avoid eggs along their route.


Photo Credit: iStock


Egg Tapping:

A better-known practice, Egg Tapping, known as shackling, jarping or dumping, is an Easter game popular all over the world today. In previous times, it was customary to use dyed egg, which, placed in warm water and white vinegar and then dipped in dye, would vary in colour. The game involved two people tapping their hard-boiled eggs together, each with the intention of cracking the other’s egg, yet keeping theirs intact. Over the years, cheating participants have attempted to use marble and cement eggs.

This Easter, why not have a go at Egg tapping yourself, and take part in the World Egg-Jarping Championships at Peterlee Cricket and Social Club in Durham, which have taken place since 1983.


Photo Credit: iStock


Egg Exchanging and Egg Hunts:

The exchange of Easter Eggs, and the Easter Egg Hunt are the two most popular activities over the Easter Weekend, and they both have their roots in pagan practices. Egyptians and Persians traditionally exchanged eggs, symbols of new life and rebirth, and decorated them in spring colours, believing the world to have hatched from an egg. In England, eggs increasingly were exchanged between loved ones, and in the 1800s, chocolate eggs were created for table decorations. The Easter Bunny too has a long history, as the first account of a rabbit depositing eggs was written in the 16th century. It was recorded that children left their shoes out for the Easter Bunny to leave eggs and gifts. Whether at home or out and about, it is likely you will take part in an Easter Egg Hunt this Easter. If you are near a National Trust property, join in one of their many Cadbury Easter Egg Hunts, where lots of treats and chocolates are promised. 


Photo Credit: iStock


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