Marshmallow bunnies and candy eggs in an Easter basket. In many cultures rabbits, which represent fertility, are a symbol of Easter.
Throughout the English-speaking world, many Easter traditions are similar with only minor differences. For example, Saturday is traditionally spent decorating Easter eggs and hunting for them with children on Sunday morning, by which time they have been mysteriously hidden all over the house and garden. Other traditions involve parents telling their children that eggs and other treats, such as chocolate eggs or rabbits, and marshmallow chicks (Peeps), have been delivered by the Easter Bunny in an Easter basket, which children find waiting for them when they wake up. Many families observe the religious aspects of Easter by attending Sunday Mass or services in the morning and then participating in a feast or party in the afternoon.
Some families have a traditional Sunday roast, often of either roast lamb or ham. Easter breads such as Simnel cake, a fruit cake with eleven marzipan balls representing the eleven faithful apostles, or nut breads such as potica are traditionally served. Hot cross buns, spiced buns with a cross on top, are traditionally associated with Good Friday, but today are often eaten well before and after (and, indeed, are sold in many supermarkets and bakers’ all year round).
In Scotland, the north of England, and Northern Ireland, the traditions of rolling decorated eggs down steep hills and pace egging are still adhered to.
In the Republic of Ireland (officially) and in Northern Ireland (for some people), Easter is a day of remembrance for the men and women who died in the Easter Rising which began on Easter Monday 1916. Until 1966, there was a parade of veterans, past the headquarters of the Irish Volunteers at the General Post Office (GPO) on O’Connell Street, Dublin, and a reading of the Proclamation of the Irish Republic. It is usually celebrated on Easter Monday.
In the British Overseas Territory of Bermuda, historically famous for growing and exporting the Easter lily, the most notable feature of the Easter celebration is the flying of kites to symbolize Christ’s ascent. Traditional Bermuda kites are constructed by Bermudians of all ages as Easter approaches, and are normally only flown at Easter. In addition to hot cross buns and Easter eggs, fish cakes are traditionally eaten in Bermuda at this time.
In Jamaica, eating bun and cheese is a highly anticipated custom by Jamaican nationals all over the world. The Jamaica Easter Buns are spiced and have raisins, and baked in a loaf tin. The buns are sliced and eaten with a slice of cheese. It is a common practice for employers to make gifts of bun and cheese or a single loaf of bun to staff members. According to the Jamaica Gleaner, “The basic Easter bun recipe requires wheat flour, brown sugar, molasses, baking powder or yeast and dried fruits.” Easter egg traditions and the Easter Bunny activities are not widespread in Jamaica. Also, Jamaican traditions include sometimes include throwing garlic onto the floor as a sign of good luck during Easter dinner.
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