Why is Easter Monday a holiday? This is what you need to know about why we observe the date

Sunday, 5th April 2020, 12:00 pm
Updated Monday, 5th April 2021, 11:28 am
Everything you need to know about Easter Monday (Photo: Shutterstock)

After a weekend of enjoying chocolate treats and hot cross buns during Easter weekend, we have now arrived at Easter Monday.

While most of us know the biblical reasons for observing Good Friday and Easter Sunday, what is significant about date of Easter Monday?

Additionally, Easter Monday is a bank holiday in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, but what about Scotland?

This is what you need to know.

What is Easter Monday?

Easter Monday holds religious significance for Christians, as it follows Easter Sunday, the day Jesus Christ was resurrected following his crucifixion on Good Friday.

It is believed that Jesus remained on earth for 40 days after his resurrection, and during this time he appeared to believers, healed the sick and spread the word of God.

The acts he carried out during this period are thought to have helped establish the first church. After the 40 days ended, Christians believe that he ascended into heaven.

The Bible itself does not say anything about what happened on Easter Monday, after Jesus’ resurrection, and it also doesn’t specifically instruct Christians to celebrate the Monday following Easter Sunday.

But across the globe, different cultures celebrate the day for different reasons. For some it’s a more solemn remembrance of Christ’s death and subsequent resurrection, which is marked with an outdoor procession.

For others there’s a more playful element to celebrating the day, like holding Easter egg-rolling competitions. Rolling Easter eggs is traditionally meant to symbolise the rolling of the stone from the tomb where Jesus was held.

When is Easter Monday?

Easter Monday is the day after Easter Sunday, so this year it falls on Monday 13 April.

Easter Monday is also known by a variety of different names such as Wet Monday (Smigus Dynagus), because in Poland it is tradition to throw water on each other.

Is Easter Monday a bank holiday?

In England, Northern Ireland and Wales, Easter Monday is a bank holiday.

It’s not considered a bank holiday across all of Scotland, however some councils do claim it as a bank holiday, such as Edinburgh, Falkirk and Dundee.

Each local council in Scotland has the power to make certain days ‘local’ public holidays.

If you live in Scotland, you can see what days your local council has determined a public holiday by going to the My Gov Scotland website.

On the Scottish tab of the list of bank holidays on the government website, Easter Monday is not listed, unlike in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

What other bank holidays are left this year?

There are still a few more bank holidays to take place in 2020.

If a bank holiday falls on a weekend, a ‘substitute’ weekend becomes a bank holiday instead, usually the following Monday.

In Scotland, these dates are bank holidays this year:

There are a number of bank holidays still to take place throughout the rest of the year in the UK.

If a bank holiday falls on a weekend, a ‘substitute’ weekend becomes a bank holiday instead, usually the following Monday.

In Scotland, these dates are bank holidays this year:

  • Good Friday - Friday 2 April
  • Early May bank holiday - Monday 3 May
  • Spring bank holiday - Monday 31 May
  • Summer bank holiday - Monday 2 August
  • St Andrew’s Day - Tuesday 30 November
  • Christmas Day (substitute day) - Monday 27 December
  • Boxing Day (substitute day) - Tuesday 28 December

England and Wales mostly have the same line-up of bank holidays except for a few key changes - the addition of Easter Monday on 5 April and the exemption of St Andrew’s Day on Monday 30 November, which is only observed in Scotland.

Bank holidays in Northern Ireland are, again, generally the same with only a few differences. Like England and Wales, St Andrew’s Day is not a bank holiday but Easter Monday on 5 April is. Northern Ireland also has an additional bank holiday on Monday 12 July for Battle of the Boyne (Orangemen’s Day).