Never mind painting eggs, organising a hunt, or mainlining chocolate… there are some crazy traditions out there. Only in the UK, we suspect!
Easter is one of the more traditional holidays in the UK, whether you’re religious or not. Most families celebrate the weekend in one way or another, with many of us choosing to follow the Easter Egg hunt and roast dinner customs. Other people have, let’s say, more unusual ways to celebrate Easter.
But while us Brits are known for our stiff upper lips and sticking to tradition, we’re also celebrated for our eccentricity, which is why many of us choose to indulge in the not-so-normal celebrations when it comes to holidays.
From regional events to individual practices, here are some of the weird and wonderful ways Easter is celebrated in the UK.
1. Swimming in the sea
Many people associate the sea swimming tradition with Boxing Day, but Sandra’s family have gone for a sea swim every Good Friday for as long as she can remember.
“There are pictures of my grandparents in their bathing suits swimming on Good Friday, and my parents and siblings would do it every year. I honestly don’t see the point in it, but it would be strange to stop now.
“I hope my children continue the tradition with their children. It feels like a nice refreshing start to the Easter weekend, particularly when you think about all of the chocolate that’s going to be consumed!”
2. London’s Widow’s Bun Ceremony
The Widow’s Son is a London pub with a history dating back to the 19th Century. The building’s original widow owner had a sailor son, who was due to return from sea on Good Friday. She baked him a hot cross bun for his return home for Easter.
Unfortunately, he never came home, but she baked a fresh hot cross bun every year in anticipation of his arrival. Today, hot cross buns are hung from the pub’s ceiling in nets, with a member of the Royal Navy adding a bun to the collection every Good Friday. Fresh buns are offered to all visitors.
3. The KFC banquet
Years ago, Roger’s then-twelve-year-old son had a nasty fall from his bike, and the duo ended up in A&E on Easter Sunday. An X-ray, a cast, and several hours later, Roger and his son left the hospital but had entirely missed dinner. They picked up a KFC on the way home, and a year later, they were laughing at the memory when they decided to make it a tradition.
“I’m now a Grandad, and I can’t wait for my granddaughter to grow her teeth so she can partake in our KFC Easter tradition. It’s been years since we’ve had a roast on Easter Sunday, but I wouldn’t change it for the world!”
4. Bottle kicking
For around 200 years, the north of England has borne witness to the tradition of Bottle Kicking on Easter Monday. This sometimes-violent game sees two groups of villagers from Hallaton and Medbourne try to take a barrel of ale back to their own town in any way they can. This unusual way of celebrating Easter includes kicking, running, and fighting. The winners get to keep and drink the beer!
5. The adult-sized Easter Bunny
Laura told us about her fight to keep her children’s imaginations as wild as possible by maintaining the existence of the Easter Bunny until they were well into their teens.
“When my children were small, I was so determined to keep them young for as long as possible, that I would dress in a pink bunny costume and lead them on an egg hunt every Easter morning. After the hunt, the Easter bunny would ‘disappear’ to help another family with their egg hunt.
“Even after my children grew up and learned the truth, they still loved that I did this, so I’ve carried on doing it despite being well into my late fifties. It’s almost time to dig out the moth-eaten costume again.”
6. Nutters’ Dance
In the village of Bacup, Lancaster, a dance troupe known as the Britannia Coconut Dancers perform a show each Easter. The eight dancers dance for seven miles, stopping at each pub along the way for a pint of beer. You can see them dressed in eccentric outfits along the way.
7. The Omelette Competition
Tom’s family have an omelette competition every Easter, involving each member of the family in the household to try and create the biggest omelette. The rules are simple: each omelette has to be edible, it can’t be broken, and everyone has to use the same amount of eggs.
“The biggest we’ve ever got to was 18 inches across before folding,” said Tom. “I’ve been determined to beat the record every year since, but I always get too cocky and end up splitting the omelette as I flip it!”
For each traditional tradition, there seems to be an unusual one. Whether you’re cooking a roast, entertaining the family, or ignoring Easter all together, have a lovely weekend. I’m just excited for chocolate eggs and the promise of Spring!
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