Easter Costumes: An Expensive Church Tradition4 min read

As Easter approaches, I’m trying to figure out what outfit I will wear for that special Sunday.

This is what everyone does, right? It’s part of Easter tradition.

The tradition of wearing special clothing for Easter, often referred to as “Easter clothes,” has historical and cultural roots dating back centuries. While the specific customs and practices associated with Easter attire vary across different cultures and regions, supposedly the tradition originally symbolized renewal, rebirth, and the celebration of Jesus Christ’s resurrection.

I struggled to find definitive sources describing the history of the Easter clothes tradition, so understand that the information below may not be 100% accurate, and you should do your own research rather than assuming that my findings are all correct.

Church Traditions Series:
1. Your Church Might Be Like the Pharisees
2. Easter Costumes: An Expensive Church Tradition (this article)

Early Christian Influences

In the early Christian church, Easter was celebrated as the most significant event on the liturgical calendar. Believers marked the occasion with elaborate worship services, processions, and celebrations.

During this time, it became customary for Christians to dress in their finest attire to honor the sacredness of the occasion and demonstrate reverence for the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Medieval Period

During the medieval period, the tradition of wearing special clothing for Easter became more widespread and elaborate. This was partially due to Constantine’s decree around 300 AD in which he required the men in his court to dress in their finest clothes on Easter.

Wealthy nobles and royalty would commission luxurious garments made from fine fabrics and adorned with jewels and intricate embroidery for Easter celebrations. For common people, Easter provided an opportunity to wear their best clothing, often passed down through generations or reserved for special occasions.

Renaissance and Baroque Eras

The Renaissance and Baroque periods saw further refinement and elaboration of Easter attire. Fashionable trends of the time influenced the style and design of Easter clothing, with an emphasis on opulence, elegance, and grandeur. Elaborate dresses, ornate suits, and extravagant accessories became fashionable choices for Easter celebrations, reflecting the social status and wealth of the wearer.

Victorian Era

In the 19th century, the Victorian era brought about significant changes in fashion and culture, influencing the tradition of Easter clothing. The Victorians embraced the symbolism of Easter as a time of renewal and new beginnings, and elaborate Easter bonnets, dresses, and suits became popular choices for Easter attire. The tradition of dressing in new clothing for Easter symbolized the spiritual significance of the holiday and the joy of resurrection.

Modern Times

In modern times, the tradition of wearing Easter clothes continues to be observed in many cultures and communities around the world, even by people who do not attend church services.

For many people, Easter clothing represents a long tradition of dressing up to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ or to show off to others. In some regions, particularly in the South, wearing an Easter dress has been a status symbol, reflecting the importance placed on tradition and appearances within the community.

Because of this latter reason, Easter clothes are not that important to me. If the whole point of Easter Sunday is to focus on the person of Jesus Christ, why do we intentionally do things to draw attention to ourselves?

Let’s be honest, how many of us would still dress up in Easter clothes if no one ever saw us wearing them?

It is important to remember that the significance of Easter lies not in what we wear, but in the celebration of Jesus’ resurrection.

As Christians, our clothing choices should be guided by our heart motives rather than social standards or traditions imposed by the church. Whether we choose to wear an Easter dress or not, our worth in God’s eyes remains unchanged, and His love for us is unconditional.


Ultimately, the decision to wear an Easter dress is a personal one, and there is no requirement or obligation to do so. What matters most is the condition of our hearts as we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Whether you choose to don a fancy pastel Easter dress or opt for casual attire, let your celebration be guided by true worship and genuine motives, knowing that God’s love for you is constant and unchanging.

But remember, this is not a biblical command or even a recommendation.

It’s a tradition.

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