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British Easter traditions

1st February 2022 Print

Each country has its own traditions. They represent the unique history and culture of that region. 

There are also some traditions which many countries share in common. Religious traditions are a great example, with the Christian traditions of Christmas and Easter practised around the world.

However, even among such widespread traditions, many countries add their own distinct flavours and twists. Britain has many unknown and interesting Easter traditions, that are so much more than cute bunnies and delicious, chocolate Easter eggs

Keep reading to find out what they are.

Egg rolling competition, Holcombe Hill

Anybody who lives near Holcombe Hill has heard of this popular Easter tradition, in which children roll painted boiled eggs down a hill. 

This centuries-old tradition that has continued to the modern-day isn’t unique to Holcombe Hill. As well as in Lancashire, there are similar events in Preston, Penrith, Edinburgh and Derby.

Morris Dancing

Although not strictly an Easter tradition, Morris dancing takes place around Easter. It’s a type of English folk dance, usually performed with clogs, bells and accompanying music. 

The troupes dance by stepping rhythmically in choreographed figures. It’s a tradition that dates back over half a millennium, performed mainly in England but also by ex-patriates across the world. 

Nutter’s dance

This strangely named tradition is unique to a particular village in Lancaster, England. An all-male dance troupe called the dress up in peculiar outfits and dance for 11 km through the village of Bacup. The dancers wear clogs and hose, as well as black face paint that causes controversy.

Pace Egg Plays, West Yorkshire

These Eastertime plays date back to medieval days. They take the form of mock combat, depicting St. George vanquishing challengers in a battle between good and evil. 

The tradition, once nationwide, died out after WW1. However, in more recent years it has undergone a revival and is now practised in parts of Lancashire and West Yorkshire.

London Widow’s Bun Ceremony

You might be surprised to learn the history of the hot cross bun. As well as having their own story, hot cross buns play a major role in the story of the London Widow’s Bun Ceremony – an obscure British Good Friday tradition.

A lady’s sailor son was expected to arrive home on Good Friday. Nothing says “welcome home” at Easter quite like a hot cross bun, so she made him one; but he never made it home to eat it. 

When the lady passed away her house became The Widow’s Son pub, where hot cross buns are given out every Good Friday to this day.

Family time

Throughout all the different traditions in Britain around Easter time, one thing always stays the same: quality time with loved ones. That’s what makes the wider Easter tradition a British favourite.