Today is Good Friday, part of the Christian festival of Easter, but how many young people really know what the holiday means other than time off school and lots of chocolate eggs to scoff?
A survey by the Bible Society, targeting a total of 804 children, has found that young people aged eight to 15 in our area have little understanding of the true meaning of Easter, or indeed of the Bible itself.
More than one in three children in the region don’t know why we celebrate Good Friday, while for Easter Sunday it was one in four.
While a quarter of those surveyed didn’t know that Judas was the friend who betrayed Jesus ahead of his crucifixion, commemorated on Good Friday, nearly two thirds had never heard that he was betrayed with a kiss.
More than 71 per cent of parents with children aged three to sixteen indicated they didn’t think their child had ever read, seen or heard the story of Easter.
But perhaps more shockingly, the survey results reveal that more than a third of children in the region believe the fable of the ‘Hare and the Tortoise’ features in the Bible.
Close to a quarter of children who took part also think that the goose that lays golden eggs is also a story told in the Christian holy book.
A Bible Society spokesman said: “As part of its ‘Pass it On’ campaign, the Society is challenging parents to help keep the Bible alive for future generations by telling stories each night over the Easter period.
“The importance of the challenge is highlighted in this research, conducted by YouGov for the Bible Society, that shows children are bewildered by the Easter story, confusing it with other parts of the Bible, Aesop’s fables and even fairy tales.”