We love Easter. A time for family gatherings, games, and plenty of chocolate – it’s the spring time festive season, a weekend to relax and enjoy time with our loved ones. Here’s a look at some of the traditions that make this the celebration we all enjoy today.
There are many things about Easter that make it special. Waking up to find chocolate eggs in the garden, enjoying a lovely roast dinner together as a family, long walks, with signs of spring shooting up all around. Easter is a lovely long weekend for making memories, and there are plenty of activities you can all do together.
Stay with us in the forest this Easter, and you can meet the Easter bunny, enjoy some Easter-themed pottery painting, or join our Forest Rangers for a spring-themed walk. The wonderful thing about Easter is that it’s far more chilled than Christmas, leaving plenty more time for family-focused fun. It’s late this year, with Easter weekend falling on 19-22 April, so there’s still plenty of time to book your cabin.
Painting Easter eggs
Every tradition has a number of different stories that explain how it began, many of them rooted in a combination of pagan and Christian beliefs. Easter is one of the most important Christian festivals, but at its earliest, it was a celebration of the spring equinox and rebirth. It’s possible that the tradition of gifting painted eggs started here, perhaps with the egg symbolising new life.
If you’re looking for a lovely activity you can enjoy together, painting eggs is one of our favourites. The easiest way is to hard boil the egg, which makes them a little sturdier for hiding.
In Germany and Austria, hollow egg decorations are hung outside on trees and bushes for Easter. Hollowing out the eggs first means you can create beautiful, albeit very fragile, decorated eggs that can last as a more permanent decoration. Are you feeling steady-handed?
The Easter bunny
Quite how the story of the Easter bunny hiding eggs for children came about is unclear. However, the bunny itself is often linked to a goddess of spring and fertility called Eostre, whose symbol was a rabbit or hare.
The tales say that while children sleep, the bunny hops around hiding eggs, coloured or chocolate, in little nests made of straw or paper. Of course, this leads to one of the great games of Easter – the Easter egg hunt.
Over the Easter weekend you’ll find many taking place across the country, including a number at National Trust properties. You might think these are aimed at children, but we know quite a few adults who enjoy the challenge just as much as the kids. Back at our locations we also holding an Easter-themed Mini Forest Ranger adventure.
Easter bonnet parades
The tradition of wearing your finest new clothes to church at Easter goes back hundreds of years, possibly as a way of celebrating the end of Lent. Certainly in the 1800s, it was usual to wear your Sunday best to church, including a lovely bonnet decorated with fresh flowers.
The first known parade is recorded as being the Fifth Avenue Parade in New York in 1870, with churchgoers joining together to walk down Fifth Avenue, and the annual parade still takes place today.
In the UK, many primary schools hold an Easter bonnet parade, and it’s a lovely way to get creative. The aim is to decorate your hat with any reference to Easter you choose, including eggs, chicks, and bunnies, as well as paper or fresh flowers, to make the brightest or most flamboyant design. The forest is a great source of decorations, all you need to do is get outside and see what materials you can find. From pine cones to twigs there are plenty of things you can forage to make pretty additions to your bonnet.
Hot cross buns
Despite all the chocolate eggs and roast lamb, we think one of the tastiest treats at Easter is hot cross buns, dripping in butter. One story says that these were first cooked by an Anglican monk, who handed them out over the Easter weekend, marked on top with the sign of the cross.
Another story is that Queen Elizabeth I tried to limit the sale of sweet buns to funerals, Christmas, and Good Friday. Thankfully for us, people just baked them at home instead, and it became impossible to enforce the law.
Making Easter memories
No matter how each of these traditions began, they all add up to one of the annual celebrations we love. All the elements together create the perfect long weekend in the forest – hot cross buns for breakfast on the decking, Easter baking, spring time trails through the forest and visits from the Easter bunny – a wonderful family weekend to remember forever.
Take a look at our late availability page for featured Easter breaks.