Easter 2017, by the numbers

Britons buy a lot of chocolate.

What began as a religious holiday to celebrate an end to Lenten self-denial has become a commercialised, interdenominational cultural phenomenon filled with hunts for plastic eggs,  hollow chocolate bunnies, and shiny patent leather shoes.

Whether you celebrated en famille, went to Sunday mass, or had nothing to do with the holiday, here are some figures you might not have known.

Abundant holiday decorations and candies in shops belie a sharp shift in Easter observance.

While many observe the holiday as a religious celebration, more than three in five respondents to a Times survey indicated that they had no intention of attending an Easter service. Women were more likely than men to be churchgoers.

This contrasts with the 60 to 65 per cent of Americans who attended church on Sunday, perhaps lending credence to a hackneyed view of church-crazy Americans.

Easter spending continues to grow, with Britons having spent almost £4 billion on gifts and food this holiday season, according to GlobalData.

Springboard predicted a five per cent increase in footfall, or customers in retail stores, over Easter weekend.

6.5 million Britons took an overnight trip this Easter, a sharp increase from last year. Their travel plans were estimated to bring £1.7 billion to the UK economy.

11 million cars hit the roads last Easter weekend, with holidaymakers travelling an average of 35 miles. Some went further afield; 1.6 million travelled overseas in 2016.

Finally, it wouldn’t be an Easter round-up without mentioning the ubiquitous chocolate egg. According to Cadbury, the British public spends £220 million annually on chocolate Easter eggs, of which their Birmingham-made creme eggs are the most popular.

According to a survey from The Independent, 80,000 eggs were sold this Easter, and the average child received eight. Together, the eggs contain in excess of 8,000 calories. 78 per cent of parents buy their children chocolate eggs for the holiday.

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