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The Definitive Guide to Easter 2024

Mar 8

Easter is a movable feast, with its date shifting every year according to the lunar calendar. This year, Easter Sunday falls on March 30th, 2024. But Easter is more than just a single day – it's a week-long celebration marked by various traditions and customs. Let's delve into the history and significance of this important Christian holiday.

Easter 2024 - The Dates You Need to Know

  • Palm Sunday: April 14th, 2024 (marks Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem)
  • Holy Week: April 15th - April 20th, 2024
  • Maundy Thursday: April 18th, 2024 (commemorates the Last Supper)
  • Good Friday: April 19th, 2024 (the day of Jesus' crucifixion)
  • Easter Sunday: April 21st, 2024 (celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ)

For many schools across the nation, the Easter break will likely fall between March 23rd and April 6th, 2024, providing a well-deserved two-week holiday for students.

The Origins of Easter

While Easter is a Christian festival, its roots can be traced back to pagan spring celebrations. Many ancient cultures, including the Anglo-Saxons, worshipped the goddess of fertility and spring, Eostre, from whom the name "Easter" is derived.

The Symbolism Behind Easter Traditions

  • Easter Eggs: Representing new life and fertility, eggs have been a symbol of rebirth in Christianity for centuries.
  • The Easter Bunny: The sight of rabbits and hares bouncing around in spring made them natural symbols of fertility in pagan traditions.
  • Hot Cross Buns: These spiced, fruity buns adorned with a cross have been part of Easter celebrations since medieval times.

Beyond Christianity

Although Easter is primarily a Christian celebration, many other religions and cultures mark the arrival of spring with their own festivities:

  • Passover (Judaism): Commemorates the Israelites' exodus from Egypt.
  • Nowruz (Persian): The Iranian new year festival, marking the beginning of spring.
  • Vaisakhi (Hinduism and Sikhism): Celebrates the solar new year and the birth of the Khalsa.
  • Buddha Jayanti (Buddhism): Celebrates the birth of Gautama Buddha.

Unique Easter Traditions

Throughout history, various regions have developed their own unique Easter traditions, such as:

  • Egg-Jarping (UK): Two players tap their hard-boiled eggs together, and the owner of the last uncracked egg wins.
  • Dyngus Day (Poland): A celebration of the end of Lent, where boys playfully soak girls with water.
  • Egg-Rolling (USA): A race where children roll hard-boiled eggs down a grassy slope.

Easter is a time of renewal, hope, and celebration. Whether you observe it for religious reasons or simply enjoy the customs and traditions, this spring festival holds a special place in the hearts of many cultures around the world.

Activities People Do Around the World for Easter

Here are some of the popular activities and traditions people observe around the world for Easter:

Egg Decorating and Hunting

  • Decorating eggs is a beloved Easter tradition in many countries like Ukraine, Poland, Greece and Romania, where wax is used to create intricate designs before dying the eggs.
  • Easter egg hunts are popular in countries like the United States, United Kingdom, Australia and Germany, where eggs are hidden for children to find and collect.

Religious Observances

  • Attending church services like Easter Vigil and Mass are important activities for Christians, especially Catholics, in countries like Italy, Spain, France and Latin American nations.
  • Passion plays, recreating the story of Christ's passion, are performed in villages across parts of Germany, Netherlands and Poland.

Festive Meals

  • In the United States and Canada, baking a ham and sharing an Easter feast is customary.
  • In Britain, roast lamb is the centerpiece of an Easter Sunday meal.
  • Traditional Easter breads like Italy's Colomba, Greece's Tsoureki and Portugal's Folar are baked.
  • In Ethiopia, families share a special bread called Dabo after Easter church services.

Parades and Celebrations

  • The Easter Parade along 5th Avenue in New York City draws crowds in their finest attire.
  • Bonfire celebrations in Denmark, Sweden and Norway welcome Easter eve.
  • Water fights and splashing are part of Smingus-Dyngus festivals in Poland and the Ukrainian diaspora.
  • Carnival celebrations precede Lent in nations like Brazil, Haiti and France's Nice.

What People Eat on Easter Around the World

Here are some of the traditional foods and dishes that people eat on Easter around the world:


  • Hot Cross Buns (United Kingdom) - Spiced sweet buns with a cross on top
  • Lamb (Greece, Italy) - Roasted lamb is a very popular main dish
  • Tsoureki (Greece) - Sweet bread decorated with red eggs
  • Simnel Cake (United Kingdom) - Fruit cake with marzipan layers
  • Pinca (Croatia) - Sweet bread with eggs baked into it


  • Ham (United States, Canada) - Baked ham is the centerpiece of Easter dinner
  • Pashka (Russia) - Sweet cheese spread served with Kulich bread
  • Charamuscas (Mexico) - Deep fried fritters

Middle East

  • Ma'amoul (Lebanon, Syria) - Shortbread cookies filled with nuts or dates
  • Qatayef (Jordan, Palestine) - Sweet dumpling stuffed with nuts or cheese


  • Dabo (Ethiopia) - Bread with beautiful woven design on top
  • Hot Cross Buns (South Africa) - Spiced buns popular among the Dutch community


  • Pashka (Russia) - Sweet cheese spread served with Kulich bread
  • Bachahr (India) - Sweet fried bread similar to donuts
  • Chocolate Eggs/Bunnies (Many Asian countries) - Due to Western influence

Interesting statistics related to Easter:

These statistics highlight just how big of a commercial and cultural event Easter has become, especially in terms of spending on food, gifts and celebrations.

Easter Spending

  • Total spending for Easter in the United States in 2022 was projected to reach $21.6 billion (Source: National Retail Federation)
  • The average American was expected to spend $169.79 on Easter in 2022 (Source: WalletHub)
  • Over 87% of Americans celebrate Easter, spending an average of $28.04 on candy alone (Source: NRF)

Easter Candy Statistics

  • About 90 million chocolate bunnies are made each year (Source: RetailMeNot)
  • Over 16 billion jelly beans are produced for Easter, enough to circle the globe three times (Source: National Confectioners Association)
  • The largest Easter egg ever made weighed 15,873 lbs and was created in Belgium in 2011 (Source: Guinness World Records)

Egg Decorating Stats

  • Americans buy over 700 million Paas and other egg decorating kits each year (Source: Paas)
  • Over 188 million eggs are dyed for Easter in the United States annually (Source: Incredible Egg)
  • The tradition of decorating eggshells dates back to the 13th century (Source:

Easter Church Attendance

  • Church attendance on Easter Sunday in the U.S. is around 61% for active church members (Source: LifeWayResearch)
  • Easter is typically the highest church attendance day of the year in the United States (Source: Barna Group)

Easter Traditions Around the World:

Whether you celebrate Easter for its deep religious significance or simply enjoy the cultural traditions, there's no denying the impact this spring holiday has across the globe. As the statistics show, Easter has become a major commercial event, with billions spent annually on everything from candy and decorations to gifts, travel, and festive meals.

At its core though, Easter represents a time of renewal, hope and togetherness. It is an opportunity for families and communities to come together through timeless traditions rooted in centuries of customs and rituals that span across religions and cultures. From the colorful egg designs of Ukraine to the hot cross buns of England, the processions of Spain, and the feasts of Ethiopia - the Easter season offers a mosaic of unique ways to honor the arrival of spring.

As you plan your own Easter celebrations this year, take a moment to appreciate the rich tapestry of global traditions that converge around this early spring holiday. Whether you attend a church service, decorate eggs, don an Easter bonnet, or simply spend quality time with loved ones over a special Easter meal - Easter provides the perfect time to embrace the hopefulness of spring's revival and create meaningful memories with family and friends.

However you mark this special day, the spirit of Easter is truly cause for global celebration.