With the Easter weekend just around the corner, four days of eating, drinking, and wholesome merriment await – we’ve got as many chocolate eggs as we can devour in our sights. However, it’s not just chocolate treats that are synonymous with this time of year; there are many other Easter traditions too. We’ve compiled just a small selection of them below, so if you’re at a loss on what do this bank holiday weekend, perhaps you’d like to honour one of these Easter traditions in London.
1. Easter egg hunts
Easter egg hunts may be primarily aimed at children during the Easter holidays, but as a competitive adult, discovering these little eggs can be just as fulfilling too.
Eggs symbolise ‘rebirth’, and the tradition of Easter egg hunts can be dated back to the late 1500s, when a Protestant reformer, Martin Luther, organised egg hunts for his congregation. Equally, some early Christian missionaries would encourage children to find Easter eggs painted with biblical scenes as a fun way to learned the significance of Easter.
There is an egg-cellent array of egg hunts in London across the Easter weekend that honour this tradition; we have collated a few below, some with a little twist.
🥚 Head to London’s largest adventure playground, Hobbledown Heath, for an Easter egg hunt through indoor and outdoor playgrounds, and woodland play villages. The Hounslow playground has other special activities planned during the Easter period too, such as letter trails, and storytelling sessions.
🥚 The Peter Rabbit™ Adventure in Covent Garden will incorporate an egg hunt with a Beatrix Potter twist, amongst their exciting roster of activities for children. Little ones will find and follow eggs to lead them to Jemima Puddle-Duck, rather than a chocolatey prize; she has been taken by the not-so-nice Mr McGregor. Along the way, there’ll be storytelling, live performances, puppetry, and even a driving lesson in mini Rovers (for additional fee).
🥚 There is an egg hunt with a difference taking place at ZSL London Zoo between April 1–16. Instead of eggs, you’ll be seeking out the zoo’s egg-laying animals, stamping a special code-card as you pass tigers, tortoises and gibbons. Once you unscramble the code on the card, it’ll lead you to the top-secret location of the Golden Egg Garden, and a golden egg.
2. Baking – and eating – hot cross buns
One of the Easter traditions we honour here in the London, and around the UK, is feasting on hot cross buns. The buns specifically represent the Easter story: the cross on the top symbolises the crucifixion, while the spices are said to symbolise spices used to embalm Jesus. You can purchase hot cross buns in supermarkets and local bakeries all over the capital – or why not challenge yourself, and make your own?
3. Feasting on fish on Good Friday
Another food-based Easter tradition: many Christians choose to avoid eating the meat of ‘warm blooded animals’ on Good Friday, and instead opt for fish. Different sources state different reasons for this; but essentially it is because Christians believe that Jesus sacrificed his own flesh on Good Friday, and as such, the flesh of land animals (specified by the Church) is avoided. The fish is also rather symbolic in Christianity, linked with miracles, Jesus’ disciples, and Christians identifying one another during periods of oppression.
You can opt to honour this Easter tradition by visiting one of your local fish and chip spots this Good Friday, or perhaps get a little more fancy to celebrate the long weekend, and make a beeline for one of London’s seafood restaurants.
4. Egg rolling
Egg rolling is a fun Easter tradition where competitors roll eggs along a route, aiming to get their egg the furthest without breaking it. The rolled eggs are said to be symbols of both new life and the rolled stone of the tomb where Jesus was laid to rest.
For central London folk, the St Bride’s Church on Fleet Street will be hosting their annual egg roll after their dawn service. The congregation will roll hard-boiled eggs along the road outside the church, with the winner receiving an egg of the chocolate variety.
If you prefer to roll your eggs at a greener location, venture to Box Hill, just outside of London, in Surrey. The National Trust location will host egg rolling competitions twice daily at 11am and 3pm on April 7–10; come ready with your own brightly coloured egg, or come a little earlier and head to the egg decorating station first.
5. Dyeing eggs
The practice of dyeing Easter eggs dates back thousands of year, and many attribute it to a Greek Orthodox tradition. It is of their belief that when Mary Magdalene went to visit the tomb of Jesus, and discovered him to not be there, her snack basket of eggs turned bright red. These days, people dye eggs all different colours over the Easter break, using vinegar and food colouring, or instead hand paint them.
While this is one of the Easter traditions easily honoured at home, if you fancy heading out into London, and being served colourful eggs instead, restaurant Vori Greek Kitchen has incorporated this tradition into their Easter menu. The traditional Greek Orthodox Easter celebration takes place a week later on Sunday, April 16, and at this restaurant, you’ll be able to start with Tsougrisma – the traditional Greek custom of smashing dyed Easter eggs – before feasting on the likes of goat, lamb, and Ekmek cheesecake.