When is Easter 2021 and why do we celebrate Easter?

When is Easter 2021? It's the question we're all asking, as Easter means springtime and springtime means sunshine! Here's what you need to know.

Child decorating tree with easter eggs, after finding out when Easter 2021 is
(Image credit: Getty Images)

When is Easter 2021? It's a question that's been on many people's minds as we battle the cold weather this winter, as Easter this year will be one of the first signs of springtime and a signal that warmer weather is on the way. 

It seems like only yesterday we were going to buy Easter eggs online (opens in new tab), determined to still get all the essential chocolatey treats for our friends and family (delivered socially distanced, of course). But the time to celebrate is almost here again this year, and that means getting your Easter decorations (opens in new tab) up, filling Easter baskets (opens in new tab), and shopping for some Easter treats and nonchocolate gifts (opens in new tab). We've also got you covered with ideas for a delicious Easter lunch and dinner (opens in new tab), naturally followed by special Easter desserts (opens in new tab) and some Easter activities and games (opens in new tab) for kids. Preparing in advance for the holiday this year is going to be worth it.

This is what you need to know about Easter 2021...

When is Easter 2021?

Easter Sunday this year is on April 4 2021, almost 10 days earlier than last year.

It follows Good Friday on April 2 2021 and comes one day before Easter Monday on April 5 2021.

Two young girls getting ready for Easter 2021

Credit: Getty

While lots of celebrations like Valentines Day, Christmas and Halloween are all on the same day, the date of Easter changes every year. It can happen any time from March 22 to April 25, but this year it's falling earlier in April. Pancake Day 2021 (opens in new tab), otherwise known as Shrove Tuesday, follows a similar pattern and occurs on a different date every year.

When are the Easter holidays 2021 in the UK?

England

The Easter holidays in England begin on Thursday April 1 2021 and end on April 16 2021.

Children might have gone back to school after lockdown (opens in new tab) by this point, so there's a chance there could be some Easter celebrations in the classroom this year.

Scotland

Easter holidays in Scotland begin on Thursday April 1 2021 at 2.30pm, when the schools close. Scottish schools will then go back to the classroom after Easter on the slightly later date of April 19 2021.

Two women getting ready for Easter 2021

Credit: Getty

This gives families plenty of time to lock down those Easter crafts (opens in new tab) they've been looking forward to, but with compulsory homeschooling (opens in new tab) in place for months now, it's not too long for the kids to be at home.

Wales

Easter holidays in Wales begin on March 29 2021 and then kids go back to school on April 12 2021.

It's slightly earlier than in Scotland and England, who have different term dates throughout the year to the other parts of the UK.

Northern Ireland

Easter holidays in Northern Ireland start on April 1 2021 and then schools reopen to pupils again on April 9 2021.

This means that children and staff in Northern Ireland have seven days off school for Easter this year.

Girl arranging tulips on table for when Easter 2021 begins

Credit: Getty

Why do we celebrate Easter and why does the date change every year?

You may know that Christians celebrate Easter to remember Jesus Christ's resurrection. In the New Testament of the Bible, it's recorded that Mary Magdalene visited the tomb where Jesus was buried, only to find it empty. An angel then told her that Jesus had risen from the dead, so to celebrate this Christians worldwide have held festivities to remember this important day in their religious calendar.

But the origins of Easter actually go all the way back to ancient times when the pagan goddess of spring, Eostara, was worshipped. It's from her that we get the word "Easter" and the symbolic rabbits and eggs come from ideas of rebirth that the goddess was also associated with.

The date of Easter changes every year, also because of spiritual reasons. Easter is always set to coincide with the first Sunday after the Paschal Full Moon (opens in new tab), which is the first full moon after the Spring equinox. That's why the date changes every year, as the first Sunday doesn't always fall on the same day.

Another way to tell when Easter is going to be is to look at when Ash Wednesday falls. It’s always the day after Shrove Tuesday (aka Pancake Day!) and 40 days before Easter, the time to remember Jesus’ journey through the desert.

Grace Walsh is a Features Writer for Goodto.com, covering breaking news health stories during the Covid-19 pandemic as well as lifestyle and entertainment topics.  She has worked in media since graduating from the University of Warwick in 2019 with a degree in Classical Civilisation and a year spent abroad in Italy. It was here that Grace caught the bug for journalism, after becoming involved in the university’s student newspaper and radio station.