Will you attend church this Easter? Poll of the week

With Christianity and church attendance on the decline in the UK, Yahoo News asks readers just how religious this weekend will be

SALISBURY, ENGLAND - APRIL 09: A packed congregation as clergy process down the aisle for the Easter Sunday morning service, at Salisbury Cathedral on April 09, 2023 in Salisbury, England. The Easter Liturgy and lighting of the Paschal candle is held every year at Easter, and is used throughout the Paschal season and then throughout the year on special occasions, such as baptisms and funerals. The lighting of the Paschal candle from the new fire, in the half-light early on Easter morning, represents resurrection and new life. The single candle is carried into the Cathedral and the proclamation of the Light of Christ fills the whole space. The light is spread round the Cathedral with candles held by all the baptised. (Photo by Finnbarr Webster/Getty Images)
A packed congregation at Salisbury Cathedral's Easter Sunday service last year. (Getty Images)

Yahoo UK's poll of the week lets you vote and indicate your strength of feeling on one of the week's hot topics. After 72 hours the poll closes and, each Friday, we'll publish and analyse the results, giving readers the chance to see how polarising a topic has become and if their view chimes with other Yahoo UK readers.

As the Easter weekend approaches, many families across the UK will be planning on attending a church service to mark the Christian holiday.

However, church attendance has fallen significantly over the years, and has more than halved since 1987, recent analysis by the Telegraph showed, with 300 parishes disappearing in just the past five years.

The 2021 census reflects this change, with 46.2% of respondents (27.5 million people) identifying as Christian, making both England and Wales minority Christian countries for the first time.

Nonetheless, the UK is still, by law at least, a Christian country, with the King hoping to share a message of "hope and unity" in a special Easter message due to be broadcast during a service at Worcester Cathedral on Maundy Thursday.

What does Easter mean to you? And will you be attending church this weekend to celebrate it? Let us know by answering this live poll.

This poll has now closed, come back on Friday to read the results and analysis via the link below

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Christianity in the UK

With the latest census showing a sizeable decline in people identifying as Christian – falling from 59.3% to 46.2% between 2011 and 2021 – some have questioned the Church of England's role in modern-day life.

While some other religions saw small increases, most the decline can be explained by more people identifying as having "no religion".

This proportion of the population rose from 25.2% (14.1 million people) in 2011 to 37.2% (22.2 million) in 2021.

With this in mind, Vernon Bogdanor, professor of government at King’s College London, told the Guardian that these results would make keeping Church of England leaders in the House of Lords "more difficult to justify".

Head of the university's department of theology and religious studies, Professor Linda Woodhead, added: "The fact that Christianity is no longer the majority religion means policy is out of step with society."

After the census was released, Stephen Evans, of the National Secular Society, told Yahoo News it was "absurd and unsustainable for the head of state to swear to uphold and promote a single religion which less than half the population follow".

However, Charles has in the past said he would be a "defender of faith", rather than of "the faith", and has spoken of the importance of protecting the freedom of worship for people of all religions – not just his own.

CoE Easter congregation sizes (Statista)
Church of England congregation sizes at Easter have risen significantly since the COVID-19 pandemic, but are still much lower in the long-term. (Statista)

How do Britons celebrate Easter?

When it comes to celebrating religious holidays that have been part of our social fabric for hundreds of years, things become a little more complicated.

For example, according to YouGov, 61% say they celebrate Christmas purely as a secular event, while 31% say the holiday has both religious and secular significance to them, while just 4% solely view it as a religious event.

For most Britons, Easter is primarily secular too, YouGov says, with 56% of people saying they observe the holiday in a purely non-religious sense. Only 10% say they do so in an entirely religious fashion, while 29% combine the two.

Half of Britons (50%) say they get together with family at Easter, and a fifth (22%) with friends. Far fewer people exchange gifts at Easter (20%) than at Christmas. Similar numbers, however, say they reflect on the meaning of Easter (19%), and pray (12%).

Easter - Statista
For the majority of people, according to Statista, the most important thing about Easter is a chance to catch up with family. (Statista)

Come back on Friday to read the results and analysis.

Read more of Yahoo UK's Poll of the Week articles