Easter Monday occurs after Easter Sunday, which commemorates Jesus Christ's resurrection, according to Christian belief. It is a bank holiday in England, Wales and Northern Ireland but not Scotland.
What do people do?
For many people, Easter Monday is the last day in a four day weekend. If people have been on a short vacation or have visited family or friends, who live some distance away, they often travel back on this day. For other people, it is just a welcome day off to enjoy the spring weather or work on their garden or home improvements. In some places, there are egg rolling competitions, Easter bonnet parades, displays of traditional Morris dancing fairs or special sports matches. In Biddenden, Kent, special cakes are distributed in memory of conjoined twins born in 1100, who lived to the age of 34.
In Leicestershire, the villages of Hallaton and Medbourne hold a bottle kicking match. It has been held at least since the early eighteenth century, but its roots may be in pagan times. The event starts with the three bottles and a hare pie, which are actually wooden barrels, a parade through the two villages. Two of the barrels are filled with beer. The third is actually solid wood. The actual game consists of the two teams taking turns to get the three barrels across two streams a mile apart, by any means possible. The game is quite rough and participants can leave the game for refreshments at any time. The winning village gets to take the filled barrels to the local pub.
Easter Monday is a bank holiday in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, but not Scotland. In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, many businesses and organizations are closed. Stores are often open to welcome shoppers, but public transport systems may run to a different timetable. There may be some congestion on train services and roads as people return from trips made during their four-day weekend. In Scotland, Easter Monday is a normal Monday.
Background and symbols
The tradition of having a holiday on the Monday after Easter stems from the medieval festival of Hocktide. This was a two day festival on the Monday and Tuesday after Easter, originating in the eleventh century. Some stories say that on the Monday the men of a town tied up the women and demanded a kiss from them before they were freed. Others say that a man had to carry a women for a certain distance or lift her up a given number of times in return for a kiss. Now Hocktide is only celebrated in the town of Hungerford in Berkshire and the main events are on the Tuesday after Easter.