Spending time with family and friends is the most important part of Easter for 43% of Britons, followed by having a break from work (18%) and only thirdly the festival’s religious meaning (17%), with the exchanging of Easter eggs trailing at 2%.
So finds a YouGov poll for The Sun, in which a representative sample of 1,742 adults aged 18 and over was interviewed online. The full data tabulations will doubtless be posted on the internet after Easter, but The Sun’s article can be viewed at:
79% of respondents had no plans to go to church over the Easter period, 16% thought they might (three-quarters of them on Easter Sunday), with 5% uncertain. It is likely that the good intentions of many of the 16% may well not translate into reality.
Weddings and funerals excluded, 12% claimed to be regular (monthly or more) churchgoers ordinarily, with 20% going very occasionally and 66% never or less than once a year.
19% said that they prayed on a daily or near-daily basis, 23% infrequently, and 54% never or less than once a year. 31% believed that prayer actually works, but 24% were unsure, and 45% adamant that it was ineffective.
76% claimed to know the Lord’s Prayer, while 21% did not. This compares with 55% of children aged 6-12 interviewed for BBC Newsround recently, far fewer than the 92% of adults who recalled knowing the prayer when a child forty years before.
87% considered Britain to be less religious than fifty years ago.
56% of Britons agreed that people should have the right to wear religious symbols at work, currently the matter of heated public debate and several legal cases. Only 11% disagreed, with 24% feeling that it is for employers to decide, and 9% uncertain.
There was less outright support for religious assemblies in schools. 31% thought that all schools should have them and 16% that they should not be allowed to, the largest group (48%) wanting schools to be able to decide for themselves. 5% expressed no opinion.
Commenting upon the YouGov results, David Meara (Archdeacon of London) writes: ‘This is a fairly accurate picture of the spiritual condition of our society – a mixture of increasing secularism with a desire for meaning and depth to existence.’
Meanwhile, another Easter-related poll released today is from Travelodge, in which 5,000 Britons were interviewed. Among the findings were:
- four-tenths were not interested in the religious side of Easter
- 28% expected to observe Good Friday as a fast day
- 82% did not plan to attend church this weekend (much the same as in YouGov’s study)
- 53% of children did not know the meaning of Easter, and one-quarter reckoned it is about celebrating the Easter bunny’s birthday
No details of the survey appear on the Travelodge website as yet (press and marketing folk in many companies are notoriously slow at posting press releases online, if they ever do), but there has been a small amount of news coverage. See, for example: