The Easter season is upon us and most people just go through the celebratory motions without really giving any thought to where the roots of the traditions stem from. If you will soon be relocating to London, or have already completed a recent relocation, you might find it both interesting and entertaining to know where some of the most common London Easter traditions have their beginnings.
Prior to Easter
Forty-seven days before Easter arrives, people begin celebrating at what is known as Shrove Tuesday in London. This Tuesday falls the day before Lent and is called Fat Tuesday in many other countries. Lent is a period of fasting up to Easter Sunday so everyone lives it up the day before (Shrove Tuesday) and consumes all the things that they will be giving up during that time.
Shrove Tuesday is also known as Pancake Day. Pancakes are made in homes and the tradition has spread to many restaurants and other public venues. The reason pancakes were chosen to represent Shrove Tuesday is because this gives families that fast during Lent a means to use up eggs, butter and sugar.
Lent stems from the 40 days that Jesus spent fasting in the wilderness and is also known as Ash Wednesday. It is called Ash Wednesday because churches traditionally place a cross on the foreheads of worshippers using ashes. The ashes represent repentance and placing a cross of ashes on the forehead is a sign to everyone else that the person has dedicated themselves to fasting like Jesus until Easter arrives.
Whether you participate in the Easter celebration of Lent or not, those relocating to London will enjoy the melodious choirs performing at Westminster Abbey, St Paul’s Cathedral, and other large worship centers located throughout the city during Holy Week before Easter Sunday.
What most people don’t know is that Easter comes from the ancient name of the goddess Eostre. Mythology tells of Eostre turning a wounded bird into a hare in order for it to survive the cold weather that was approaching. However, the hare could still lay eggs which it would paint and leave as a spring offering to Eostre for her help. This is where the Easter bunny and colored eggs come from.
Baking and eating hot cross buns is another tradition that those relocating to London can enjoy. As the story goes, the tradition of hot cross buns began in the 16th century and they were supposed to have magical properties when baked on Good Friday. They were actually banned by the Queen for a period of time.
Easter Sunday is the official ending of the Lent fast and so heaps of food (usually roast), pastries and chocolates are consumed. If relocating to London before Easter Sunday, be sure to attend the London Harness Horse Parade that proceeds from Kings Cross to Hayward Heath. You will thoroughly enjoy the uniforms, antique horse-drawn vehicles, and other rarities presented in full blown show.
Those relocating to London with children will enjoy the Easter Skate Eggstravaganza which allows kids to dress up in Easter costumes for skating and treasure hunts. Cambridge and Oxford schools also hold their famous Boat Race each year on Easter.
If you require assistance relocating to London, contact London Relocation today!