How Easter was celebrated during the English Civil Wars

Posted on April 09, 2023

The English Civil War was a time of great political and social upheaval in England. It was a time of great religious tension, as well as political and military conflict and as a result it had a significant impact on the way that Easter was celebrated during this period.

During the English Civil War, the country was divided into two factions: the Royalists, who supported King Charles I, and the Parliamentarians, who opposed him. The Royalists were mainly Anglicans, while the Parliamentarians were Puritans, who believed in a more strict form of Christianity.

Easter was an important holiday for both groups, but they celebrated it in different ways. For the Royalists, Easter was a time of feasting and celebration, while for the Puritans, it was a time of religious reflection and repentance.

How did the Royalist's celebrate Easter?

The Royalists celebrated Easter much as it had been celebrated for centuries before the Civil War. They attended church services, decorated their homes with Easter eggs and other symbols of spring, and enjoyed elaborate feasts with their friends and family.

One of the most important parts of the Royalist Easter celebrations was the Easter Sunday feast. This was a time for families to gather together and enjoy a large meal, often featuring lamb or other traditional Easter dishes. Wine and ale were also important parts of the feast, and the Royalists often drank to excess in celebration of the holiday.

In addition to the Easter feast, the Royalists also enjoyed various forms of entertainment during the holiday. They attended plays, dances, and other festivities, and some even participated in mock battles or other forms of physical competition.

How did the Parliamentarians celebrate Easter?

The Parliamentarians who were mainly Puritans, celebrated Easter in a much more subdued and strict manner. They believed that Easter was a time for repentance and reflection, rather than celebration and feasting.

One of the most important parts of the Puritan Easter celebrations was the Good Friday service. This was a time for the community to come together and reflect on the suffering and sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Many Puritan churches would also hold special services on Easter Sunday, focusing on the resurrection of Christ and the hope that it offered.

The Puritans did not decorate their homes with Easter eggs or other symbols of spring, and they did not engage in any of the revelry or entertainment that was common among the Royalists. Instead, they focused on prayer, scripture reading, and other religious activities.

What impact did the English Civil War have on how we celebrate Easter?

The English Civil War had a significant impact on the way that Easter was celebrated in England. The conflict created a deep religious and political divide in the country, and this was reflected in the way that the holiday was observed.

For the Royalists, Easter was a way of reaffirming their loyalty to the king and their commitment to the traditional Anglican Church. It was a way of celebrating the continuity and stability of English society, even in the midst of a time of great upheaval.

For the Puritans, however, Easter was a time of spiritual renewal and reflection. They saw the holiday as an opportunity to distance themselves from the excesses and corruption of the Anglican Church, and to recommit themselves to a more pure and simple form of Christianity.

In many ways, the English Civil War marked the end of an era in which Easter was celebrated in a traditional, unifying manner. The conflict laid bare the deep religious and political divisions that existed in English society, and these divisions would continue to shape the way that Easter was celebrated in the years and decades to come.