Celebrating Easter in the UK

Easter eggs // Ostereier

One of the holiest festivals in the Christian calendar, Easter is celebrated around the world. Whilst the religious observations of the festival follow the Christian church, celebrations can vary between countries.

It is believed that Easter in the UK has its beginnings long before the arrival of Christianity. Many theologians believe Easter itself is named after the Anglo-Saxon goddess Eostre.

Easter occurs on a different date every year. In the UK, it is observed on the first Sunday after the first full moon following the first day of spring. In other words, it can occur on any Sunday between March 22nd and April 25th. In 2013, Easter Sunday will fall on March 31st.

Not only is Easter regarded as the end of winter, it is also the end of Lent, traditionally a time of fasting in the Christian calendar. It is therefore regarded as a time of fun and celebration. The Friday before Easter Sunday and the Monday after are bank holidays in the UK, and schools close for two weeks across this time. On Easter Sunday nearly all non-essential businesses and organisations are closed. Public transport systems may run on a different schedule from other Sundays, or not run services at all.

Celebrating Easter In The UK

People who usually attend church will attend special services on Easter Sunday – these tend to be longer and more elaborate than on other Sundays. In churches, it is generally a festive occasion, with an emphasis on the dawn of new life.

Some businesses and attractions hold Easter egg hunts. These tend to be competitions to see who can collect the most eggs. In some parts of the UK, people roll decorated hard boiled eggs down slopes. In other places, there is a game in which people roll hard boiled eggs against other peoples’ eggs. The winner is the person whose egg remains whole.

Additionally, many people celebrate Easter by decorating hard boiled eggs, giving cards and sharing chocolate eggs.

Why Easter eggs?

Easter eggs are a very old tradition dating back to a time before Christianity. They are a symbol of spring and new life. Exchanging and eating Easter eggs is a popular custom in many countries. Historically in the UK, chicken eggs were hard-boiled and dyed in various bright colours and patterns, representing spring and light. Nowadays UK kids tend to prefer to receive eggs of the chocolate variety though!

Why an Easter bunny?

Rabbits, for obvious reasons, have always been a symbol of fertility. However, the Easter bunny may actually be an Easter hare. The hare was allegedly a companion of the ancient Moon goddess, Eostre (from whom the name ‘Easter’ is thought to have originated). The bunny as an Easter symbol appears to have it’s origins in Germany, where it was first mentioned in German writings in the 16th Century. The first edible Easter bunnies, made of pastry and sugar, appeared in Germany during the early 1800’s. In the UK, children believe that if they are good the Easter Bunny will leave chocolate eggs for them.

Why Morris Dancing at Easter?

Morris dancing is a traditional English form of folk dance which is also performed in other English-speaking countries such as the USA and Australia. The dance has been part of English heritage for at least 600 and may be much older. It may well have its roots in rites celebrating fertility and the coming of spring. Dancers would blacken their faces with soot so they would not be recognised by the local priest, and would resemble ‘Moors’. This gave rise to ‘Moorish Men’ or ‘Moorish dauncers’, and hence to ‘Morris’.

Why Hot Cross Buns?

Hot cross buns, now eaten throughout the Easter season, were first baked in England to be served on Good Friday. These small, lightly sweet yeast buns contain raisins or currants and sometimes chopped sweetened fruit. Before baking, a cross is slashed in the top of the bun. After baking, a confectioners’ sugar icing is used to fill the cross. In many historically Christian countries, buns are traditionally eaten hot or toasted during Lent, with the cross standing as a symbol of the Crucifixion.

English folklore includes many superstitions surrounding hot cross buns. One of them says that buns baked and served on Good Friday will not spoil or mould during the subsequent year. Another encourages keeping such a bun for medicinal purposes. A piece of it given to someone who is ill is said to help them recover.

Traditionally, an old rhyme was sung by children awaiting their hot cross bun: “Hot cross buns, hot cross buns, one a penny, two a penny, hot cross buns. If you do not like them, give them to your sons, one a penny, two a penny, hot cross buns.”

The Relocation Consultancy are experts in destination services and provide a range of options to support families moving to the UK. For a FREE consultation on the services that may be suitable for you, call +44 (0)118 947 0029 or email info@therelocationconsultancy.com. Alternately, you can find out more about our services at http://www.therelocationconsultancy.com/relocation-services

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The following testimonial is from an assignee who undertook a corporate relocation from Australia to London, with destination services in the UK provided by The Relocation Consultancy. [February 2013]

“After Jenny managed my family’s recent relocation I couldn’t recommend her highly enough. She went well beyond requirements to make sure setting up in a new location ran smoothly – I thought personal service like this didn’t exist anymore!”

The Relocation Consultancy are experts in destination services and provide a range of options to support families moving to the UK. For a FREE consultation on the services that may be suitable for you, call +44 (0)118 947 0029 or email info@therelocationconsultancy.com. Further details of our services can be found at www.therelocationconsultancy.com.

Top 10 Tips For Moving With Children

Moving away from home can be stressful for children of all ages. There are a number of ways to help them through the transition:

1. Keep them involved

As soon as you know there’s even a possibility of a relocation, include your children in the conversations. Don’t wait until it’s a sure thing and then spring it on them.

Listen to their concerns and tell them to come to you with their fears, anxieties and questions. Quite often, children can make assumptions that are quite far from the reality – keeping the lines of communication open with them will help them to adapt.

2. Explain everything, assume nothing

Assume your children know nothing about what a move entails. Very young children will be confused about what they’re able to take and what they won’t. Assure them that all their toys, clothes and belongings will be put into boxes and taken to the new house. They may even need it confirmed that they will be accompanying you!

Walk around your house with your child. Have them point to things and tell them, “Yes, your teddy is going to the new house.” “No, that carpet is going to stay here.” It sounds silly, but young children really do need it to be explained to them in very simple terms.

3. Where possible, involve them in the home choice process

If possible, take your children along on your home search visits. Most Consultants are happy for your children to attend and can arrange for the (legally-required) car seats to be available for them.

Make clear at the onset of any home search visit that the final decision is up to the adults, but that their opinions will be considered.

We would not advise bringing very young children along – home search days can be very long and can lead to tantrums in even the most angelic of toddlers! If you can’t take them along, you can still keep them involved. Take pictures/video of the houses you’re considering and bring them back to show them. A temporary nanny can be arranged to look after your children by TRC if required.

4. Plan a nice goodbye to your current home

Before you move, throw a going-away party for your kids with their friends. Make sure they know when they are going, when they will be back and how they can stay in touch with each other.

If possible, try to help them maintain contact with their friends whilst they are away, perhaps by telephone, email, Skype and the internet.

A password-protected area can be created for your family at the TRC website, to allow you and your children to communicate online with your friends and family in a completely safe environment. Speak to your contact at TRC if you would like this to be arranged for you.

5. Make the transition fun

As well as being unsettling and tiring, moving from your home country can be fun! Plan to splurge a little bit on transitioning from one home to another – maybe visit some fun, kid-friendly restaurants, go to the cinema/theatre or visit an indoor play frame. Any new location will have plenty to offer a family – if in doubt, just ask your TRC Consultant and they will be able to send you some suggestions.

6. Get to know your child’s new school

School is the centre of your child’s universe. They will only be happy if they are happy in school. Inevitably, that means you will only be happy if they are happy in school!
Make sure your child visits the prospective schools with you – it is only by visiting the schools that you will get a true feeling of the atmosphere there. Make sure your child knows where their classroom would be, where the toilets are, where the dining room is, and all the other basic information they would need on their first day.

Many independent schools run a buddy system for new children – these are absolutely invaluable for helping them to fit in quickly. If they are offered a buddy, it is always wise to accept them!

If your child has any particular interests or hobbies, find out if there is a club covering that interest at the school – it will be much easier to make friends with other kids that they have something in common with.

If you can spare the time, try to volunteer for any Parent/Teacher association aligned with the school – this is an invaluable way of making friends and becoming truly integrated to an area.

7. Find something new

Find something new, good and different about the new house or town and play it up. Give this new place something the old one didn’t have. Perhaps it has a duck pond nearby or a rickety old street that you can play hopscotch on? Every place will have something – try delving into your inner child to find it for them!

8. Add some extras

Sign your children up for some extracurricular activities e.g. scouts, guides, clubs, etc.
These smaller clubs may provide a welcome group of new friends for them. They’ll feel more a part of their new home once they’re involved in activities.

Try to keep one activity that isn’t with the school – this will help them to broaden their friendship base and give them a break from thinking about school all the time.

9. Make their bedroom the top priority

Ensure they have anything with them that will help them settle in quickly e.g. their favourite toy, comfort blanket or duvet cover. Let them pick a couple of new items that will make their new room feel special to them e.g. a new cushion, alarm clock or some posters.

Having a place that they feel comfortable in and can call their own will work wonders for their settling in.

10. Explore, explore, explore!

Once you arrive in the new place, start exploring. What does your new location have that you’ve never experienced? Start reaping the benefits of your new environment right away. Your kids will feel like they’re on an extended holiday!

The Relocation Consultancy are experts in destination services and provide a range of options to support families moving to the UK. For a FREE consultation on the services that may be suitable for you, call +44 (0)118 947 0029 or email info@therelocationconsultancy.com.