From lamb to Simnel cakes and Easter bonnets to egg jarping, Easter is a wonderful time to celebrate. Learn how to do it traditionally.
We may think of bunnies and chocolate eggs when it comes to Easter but it is, after all, a major Christian holiday – more important than Christmas. It’s also the first public holiday of the year since New Year’s Eve, with both Good Friday and Easter Monday being bank holidays in this country – and signals the start of spring. What should you expect to eat, wear and do to celebrate it both properly and traditionally – and where did all those traditions come from, anyway?
• Fish is traditional for Good Friday, as are hot cross buns (rich, spiced tea cakes).
• Easter Sunday lunch is the most traditional meal of the weekend – and lamb the favourite meat to serve. (You should serve white wine with fish and red wine with lamb.)
• Boiled eggs are traditional for breakfast.
• A Simnel cake could be served for tea – this is a fruit cake with a layer of marzipan, decorated with 11 marzipan balls representing the Apostles.
• Consider setting an Easter egg hunt in the garden for any children who come to your home to celebrate Easter. All you need to do is hide a few bags of miniature chocolate eggs and bunnies outside, then give out baskets or paper bags to the kids (and any grown-up kids who want to join in). Or get creative and put together a treasure map.
• Decorate the table and bring spring into your home – add flowers, miniature eggs at the place settings and a showstopping centrepiece. These days you can readily buy Easter garlands, bunting and plenty of other fun decorations, so why not dress the whole house too? Do keep it simple, though – being over-indulgent is not in keeping with the tone of Easter.
• Easter is the ultimate time for a sweet tooth so a dessert table is a great end to your special meal.
• Don’t forget your table manners – familiarise yourself with what’s expected at Easter lunch with our nine tips to dine in style.
• If you are visiting friends and family for Easter, take chocolate or spring flowers, such as tulips or daffodils as a gift. If you know they will be too busy to prepare the flowers, perhaps consider a potted plant instead. For traditional hosts, take an Easter card too.