Unusual Easter Celebrations in the UK

Unusual Easter Celebrations in the UK

Easter is an ancient festival that is celebrated in Christian countries with many different traditions, both secular and religious. Some are religious parades held around the world, while others include figures, like the Easter bunny, and games for children, like easter egg hunts. In the latter, children search for painted eggs that have been hidden in different places.

These traditions (painting eggs, hiding them, the Easter bunny) are well known around the world, but here in the UK there are some unusual, eccentric customs that take place around Easter. Many of these traditions originated before Christianity, and tell us about Britain’s pagan past.

Here are three unusual British Easter traditions that you’ve never heard of.

 

Bottle Kicking - Leicestershire

This is a tradition that has taken place in the north of England for 200 years between the villages of Hallaton and Medbourne. This is a wild and sometimes violent game in which two groups of villagers try to take a small barrel of ale (traditional English beer) back to their town in any way possible – kicking, running, fighting, tripping. The winners get to keep and drink the beer.

Maypole Festivals

Maypole festivals are traditional dances done throughout England around Easter. These are a perfect example of ancient, pagan festivals that existed before Easter was a holiday and still exist today. The Maypole festival is a celebration in which boys and girls dance around a large pole to celebrate spring, new life, and the turning of the seasons.

Jack in the Green

Finally, our third and last British Easter celebration is Jack in the Green. This is another festival that pre-dates Christianity, but is celebrated at Easter to commemorate the coming of spring. Jack in the Green is a parade which is led by a man completely covered in leaves and foliage. These are the symbols of nature returning after a long winter.

Because of television and popular culture we are shown only a very small and specific part of culture. It’s important to remember that culture is much more varied and interesting than what we see on TV.

Match the bold words to the definitions below

 

  1. (v.) recall and show respect for (someone or something).
  2. (adj.) unconventional and slightly strange.
  3. (n.) plant leaves.
  4. (adj.) not connected with religious or spiritual matters.
  5. (adj. / n.) a person holding religious beliefs other than those of the main world religions / anything relating to the religious practice of these people.
  6. (preposition) n every part of (a place or object).
  7. (n.) a traditional and widely accepted way of behaving or doing something.
  8. (adj.) the second mentioned of two people or things.
  9. (adj. / v.) kept out of sight; concealed.
  1. (v.) recall and show respect for (someone or something). Commemorate
  2. (adj.) unconventional and slightly strange. Eccentric
  3. (n.) plant leaves. Foliage
  4. (adj.) not connected with religious or spiritual matters. Secular
  5. (adj. / n.) a person holding religious beliefs other than those of the main world religions / anything relating to the religious practice of these people. Pagan
  6. (preposition) n every part of (a place or object). Throughout
  7. (n.) a traditional and widely accepted way of behaving or doing something. Customs
  8. (adj.) the second mentioned of two people or things. Latter
  9. (adj. / v.) kept out of sight; concealed.Hidden
  1. Is Easter celebrated in your country? If so, what do people do?
  2. Are there any festivals in your country to celebrate the spring?
  3. What do you think about this sentence from the article: “Because of television and popular culture we are shown only a very small and specific part of culture.”? Do you agree or disagree?
  4. What are some things about your culture that you think most foreigners don’t know about?
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