Here are the Easter bank holiday dates for 2021 - and when schools will be off

What you need to know about Easter 2021 (Photo: Shutterstock)What you need to know about Easter 2021 (Photo: Shutterstock)
What you need to know about Easter 2021 (Photo: Shutterstock)

With Easter 2020 on the horizon, people across the UK are preparing to celebrate with chocolate eggs and hot cross buns.

However, this year’s Easter bank holiday is an unusual one with schools off for the foreseeable future due to the coronavirus lockdown.

With things expected to be back to normal by next year at this time, here’s when the Easter bank holiday will fall in 2021 - and when we can expect schools to be off.

What date will Easter be in 2021?

In 2021, Easter will land on Sunday 4 April, which is earlier than this year, with Easter Sunday falling on 12 April this year.

Good Friday will fall on Friday 2 April, Good Monday will be Monday 5 April and Ash Wednesday will take place on Wednesday 17 February.

Good Friday and Easter Monday are both bank holidays in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, but not in Scotland.

When will schools be off?

While official dates for all school closures in 2021 aren’t solidified yet, you can estimate when they’ll close based on previous years.

In Scotland, the schools should generally close around Friday 2 to Monday 19 April 2021 for the Easter holidays.

In Northern Ireland, schools will close from Thursday 1 April to Friday 9 April 2021.

In Wales, schools can be expected to close from Monday 29 March 2021 until Friday 9 April 2021.

In England, you can expect schools to close on Thursday 1 April until Friday 16 April 2021.

Why does the date change?

The date of Easter Sunday changes each year because, despite the fact that it is a Christian holiday, the date of Easter is actually determined by the Jewish calendar.

The Jewish calendar is based on lunar cycles, and a lunar year has about 354 days, unlike a solar year which has just over 365 days.

Easter is celebrated on the first Sunday after the Paschal full moon, which is the full moon that occurs after the spring equinox.

The date of Easter can change because the Paschal full moon can fall on various days in different time zones. But because Easter falls on the Sunday after the March 21 spring equinox, it will always take place between March 22 and April 25.

What are some Easter traditions around the world?

Here in the UK, we celebrate Easter in a variety of ways - from Easter egg hunts to making hot cross buns - but across the world there are loads of different ways to celebrate Easter.

In Poland, they have an Easter tradition called Śmigus-dyngus, which is when boys try to drench one another with buckets of water on Easter Monday. According to legend, girls who get soaked with water will marry within the year. This tradition has origins in the baptism of the Polish Prince Mieszko on Easter Monday in 966 AD.

In Florence, Italy, locals celebrate Easter with a 350 year old tradition known as Scoppio del Carro, or “explosion of the cart”. An ornate cart is filled full of fireworks and pulled through the streets of the city by people wearing colourful 15th century costumes before stopping outside the Duomo. The Archbishop of Florence then lights the fuse during Easter mass that leads outside to the cart and sets off the incredible fireworks display.

In Norway, Easter is a popular time for Norwegians to read crime novels that publishers actually come out with special “Easter Thrillers” known as Paaskekrimmen.

In Finland, children dress up like witches and go begging for chocolate eggs in the streets, carrying bunches of willow twigs that have been decorated with features. In some parts of Western Finland, Easter Sunday is also celebrated with bonfires.

In Huax, France, they celebrate with a giant omelet which gets served up in the town’s main square. The omelet uses more than 4,500 eggs and feeds up to 1,000 people.

On the morning of Holy Saturday, the people on the Greek island Corfu celebrate with the tradition of pot throwing - the people throw pots, pans and other items out of their windows, smashing them in the street. Some believe the tradition welcomes in spring.