These are the dates of the Easter bank holiday in 2021 - and why we celebrate

The easing of some lockdown rules will see many family and friends meet up over Easter - but when is Easter Sunday and why does the date change each year?

The introduction of the Rule of Six, which allows groups of six or two households to meet up outside and in private gardens, has coincided with a spell of warmer weather.

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The season has long been earmarked as a time for the further easing of some lockdown restrictions put in place to limit the spread of coronavirus amid the dark days of winter.

And, as the Covid vaccine rollout continues following the approval of Pfizer, Oxford and Moderna jabs, many have started to think ahead to what they are allowed to do under the new rules.

So when does Easter fall in 2021 - and when are the schools off?

What date is Easter 2021?

In 2021, Easter falls on Sunday 4 April.

This is earlier than Easter 2020, which fell on Sunday 12 April. That is because, unlike Halloween or Christmas, Easter doesn’t have a fixed date.

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In 2021, Good Friday is 2 April and Easter Monday is 5 April. These two dates are bank holidays in England, Wales and Northern Ireland but Scotland only has Good Friday off.

Ash Wednesday falls on Wednesday 17 February 2021.

When are the schools off?

Typically the schools break up for two weeks at the end of the spring term over Easter before returning to the classroom for the summer term.

Dates can change depending on what country and county you live in. Next year’s dates tend to revolve around Friday 2 April - Friday 16 April.

Why does the date of Easter change?

Easter can be celebrated between 22 March and 25 April due to a set of calculations based on observations of the moon using the Church’s ecclesiastical calendar.

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A Christian holiday, which celebrates the resurrection of Jesus, Easter is celebrated on the first Sunday following the first full moon - Paschal - that occurs on or after the spring equinox.

The spring equinox is when day and night are the same length and occurs each year and is set on 21 March in the ecclesiastical calendar, even if this differs from the astronomical date.

In 2021, the first full moon after the spring equinox is scheduled for Sunday 28 March, meaning Easter will be celebrated the following Sunday on 4 April.

What are some Easter traditions in the UK?

As well as attending church, there are some other traditions many enjoy over the Easter holidays from baking hot cross buns on Good Friday to chocolate egg hunts on Sunday.

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The Bible states that Jesus died on the cross, and it has since become a symbol of the religion which can be seen in churches and on the tops of hot cross buns.

While an egg symbolises new life. For Christians an Easter egg is used as a symbol of the resurrection of Jesus and the promise of eternal life if they follow his teachings.

The types of eggs exchanged nowadays are often made from chocolate rather than traditional chicken eggs. Kids, either Christian and non-Christian, often take part in Easter egg hunts.

How do other countries celebrate Easter?

Easter, like Christmas, is celebrated around the world. In France, residents of Haux crack thousands of eggs into a pan and make a giant omelette that they then eat.

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In Hungary, women dress in traditional clothes and get splashed with water.

Australia confectioners make chocolate shaped bilbies to raise awareness of the dwindling population of the small rabbit-sized marsupial and residents of Papua New Guinea decorate Easter trees with sticks of tobacco.