Different Easter traditions in UK, Nigeria

Easter symbol


From Bournemouth


Easter, also called Resurrection Sunday is a Christian holiday commemorating the Resurrection of Jesus from the dead described in the New Testament as having occurred on the third day of his crucifixion and burial by the Romans.


Christians who observe Easter refer to the week before Easter Sunday as the Holy Week. The Holy Week begins on Palm Sunday, the day that marks Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem. The week also includes Spy Wednesday, the day on which He was betrayed by Judas Iscariot, Holy Thursday which commemorates the Last Supper as well as Good Friday Commemorating Jesus’ crucifixion, death and burial.


Easter is celebrated in different parts of the world, although the main theme is the death and resurrection of Christ, many cultures celebrate it differently. In England, Over the centuries, it has become associated with many different traditions. Easter is marked by secular celebrations because Easter follows a time of lent which is a period of religious observance and abstinence from worldly pleasures for some Christian denominations. On good Friday, Catholics abstain from meat, dairy and eggs to remember Jesus in the dessert.


Historically, some of the English traditions like the hot cross buns were believed to have magical healing properties because they were baked on Good Friday, and it was thought that goods baked on Good Friday would never go mouldy, they were also thought to bring good luck and could be used to treat medical complaints. In the 19th century they were described as triangular cakes and the cross on the top was nothing special.

Other English Easter traditions in the past included sports and games some of which included archery contests, hunting handball games and horse racing. The Leicester Hunt Hare took place on Easter Monday until about 1716, the Epping Forest Stag Hunt was a favourite of early 19th century East Enders, the surviving sporting event is the ‘Uppies and Downies’ mass football game  in Workington, Cumberland, England which has been played over Easter weekend since at least 1779 and it was played in 2024 as well.


Easter celebrations have evolved to include hot cross buns, Easter bunnies and Easter eggs are put on display in supermarkets, they originated as pagan symbols of spring and rebirth and there are traditions of Easter egg hunt.


The Easter egg is the most customary traditional way Easter today is celebrated in England, people give each other eggs in springtime, early Christians in Mesopotamia dyed eggs in the period after Easter and the practice eventually spread into Western Europe. This practice of Easter Eggs started because of the fast that prevented people during lent from eating eggs and so when the fast ended on Easter Sunday; people who were not well to do, would eat and give out eggs. The eggs signified rebirth, the earliest specific record of an Easter egg in England comes in 1290, when Edward I purchased 450 eggs, they were decorated and given to members of his household. In the 16th century, before England and Rome split, the pope sent Henry VIII an egg in a silver case as an Easter gift.


A resident of Bournemouth from England, Hannah Dykes describes a typical Easter celebration in England as being made up of public holidays, family time, closure of shops and lots of food


According to her “A typical Easter celebration in England involves food – hot cross buns, chocolate, eggs and bunnies and often an Easter egg hunt usually in the garden for kids. Some people like to decorate (paint) eggs as well”.


Paul Bacon another resident of Bournemouth from England describes Easter as having lots of Easter egg hunts.

He says, “we eat fish and lamb on Sunday, and we do a lot of Easter egg hunts”.

Easter celebration traditions differ from place to place. In Nigeria there are no Easter Egg hunts or bunnies and the celebration is mainly to mark the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. In Nigeria, Easter is celebrated like a mini-Christmas characterized by lots of food, merry making and in addition several churches re-enact the passion of Christ. This celebration starts from Holy Thursday and ends on Easter Monday which is a nation-wide public holiday.


Rev Fr. Kenneth Eze, a Catholic priest, and a Nigerian lends his voice on how Nigerians celebrate Easter, he describes Easter as the summit of the Christian faith, marked by the death and resurrection of Jesus where Christians are assured of salvation and liberation from sin so there is a lot of merry making.

In his words, “it is a powerful celebration, we Christians believe it gives us assurance of salvation, traditional Easter celebration in Nigeria is characterized by so much Joy and fanfare, it takes an entire week of celebration, After the forty days of fasting then we have the Palm Sunday also known as Holy Sunday, Holy Thursday, Good Friday and then  Easter where people Take holidays, travel to visit friends. It’s a day of reunion for those who live far from each other, there’s lots of eating, drinking, Christian Music, singing and dancing to mark the centre of Christianity.




The OPINION / COLUMN is authored by independent contributors to the National Accord Newspaper. While contributors adhere to our editorial guidelines, they are not employed by the National Accord Newspaper. The perspectives and opinions expressed herein are solely those of the author and do not represent the views of the National Accord Newspaper or its staff.

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