Easter in the United States

Colorful parades, a busy Easter Bunny, and the Egg Roll in front of the White House: Easter is one of the USA's most popular holidays. Learn about America's most important Easter traditions.

How Americans celebrate Easter

On Easter, many Americans go to church. And as on most holidays in the USA, there is also quite a lot of eating. However, Easter in America is not the official public holiday you may be used to from other countries.

Only in some states, Good Friday is an actual holiday. This is the case in Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Indiana, Kentucky (half a day), Louisiana, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota, Tennessee, and Texas (in parts).

Whether employees in other states get a day off on Easter depends entirely on the employer. Also, most school children in the United States do not have an Easter vacation, but a long summer break and the mandatory Spring Break.

American Easter Bunny Egg Hunt

As in many other countries, the Easter Bunny hides colorful eggs and candy for the children in the USA.

After the egg hunt, the famous "Easter Egg Roll" begins, where the children all simultaneously roll an egg down a hill, hoping that their egg will win the race.

Easter Egg Roll in front of the White House

The event is usually also celebrated in front of the White House - without a hill, but with the US President as the referee: The so-called "Easter Egg Roll" in front of the White House has a history:

President Rutherford B. Hayes hosted the big Easter party for the first time in 1878. Despite some interruptions of this tradition, the current US President has been inviting people to his garden on Easter Monday every year since then.

American Easter Service

Faithful Americans who are Christians go to church on Easter Sunday. There are special Easter services in many communities with traditions, such as children reciting Easter poems.

Families usually gather in the morning, dressed in festive spring attire, and head to church together, followed by a big Easter brunch.

Easter Dinner in the USA

US families usually like to meet up for the traditional Easter Dinner. The feast is eaten either at home or in a restaurant and usually consists of the following elements:

  • Easter ham
    A hearty ham is cooked in the oven with a spicy marinade.
  • Easter lamb
    Instead of the somewhat more modern Easter Ham, a lamb is still traditionally served on the table in many families.
  • Hot cross buns
    The sweet yeast dough rolls are traditionally eaten on Good Friday, but they also like to end up on the Easter Dinner plate.
  • Boiled eggs
    All the eggs that have been painted and hidden must be eaten afterward, of course.
  • Potatoes and vegetables
    As with every holiday dinner, potatoes and vegetables come in all shapes and colors. From baked to mashed, there are different traditions - depending on the family.
  • Simnel cake
    Especially in New England, the traditional British fruitcake with lots of marzipans is eaten on Easter. It is already available at "tea time", but it usually is around until dinner.
  • Easter biscuits
    Thanks to their special seasoning, the sweet Easter cookies from the Old English tradition are a wonderful treat.

Easter parades in the USA

Another American Easter tradition is the festive Easter parades with their colorful traditional costumes and flower-decorated hats. Each city has its customs.

Probably the largest and most famous parade is held annually on Fifth Avenue in New York City. For Easter 2021, Fifth Avenue has prepared a virtual Easter Parade, which will take place on the Internet using the hashtag #EasterOnFifth.

Interesting Easter Facts

Got a (virtual) date for Easter? Impress your conversation partners with these fun facts about the American Easter celebration:

  • Easter is the most popular church day of the year.
  • After Halloween, Easter is the biggest candy-consuming holiday of the year.
  • In the USA, 12 of the 50 US states recognize Good Friday as a holiday.
  • There were over 500,000 eggs hidden in the world's largest Easter egg hunt that took place in Winter Haven, Florida in 2007.
  • The idea of the Easter bunny giving candies and eggs is said to have originated in Germany during the middle ages.
  • There are 35 possible dates for Easter - the cycle repeats itself once every 5.7 million years.

Want to learn more about exciting holiday traditions in the US? Then visit our "US Holidays" section. It's all there, from St. Patrick's Day to Thanksgiving!