Simple Preparations for Easter
Easter like Christmas can be a challenging holiday to celebrate for those who want to create meaningful family traditions, but who are also not strictly or philosophically connected to the Christian religion in any way.
Although my oldest child is ready for Biblical stories and their powerful moral and metaphorical interpretations, my other three children (under 7) are far too young to be told the story of Jesus’ death and rebirth.
All of this said, I still aim to model and draw attention to some of the values and lessons associated with Easter such as self-sacrifice for the sake of the whole, new beginnings and the natural cycle of death and rebirth (especially in the natural world- plants, animals).
To help me with this, I rely heavily on Ostara, (the pagan feast/Spring Equinox festival) from which many easter traditions and customs were born from.
What is most important for our children is not so much whether we follow a specific religion or not but that if we choose to celebrate a holiday, that we authentically honour the festival by drawing on its values consciously.
Every year I ask myself once again (because sometimes our values change):
- Why do we as a family celebrate at this time?
- What is this tradition all about and what does it mean to us?
It’s so easy to get carried away with the material associations we have with the holidays that we sometimes forget to meditate on the underlying magic or spiritualism associated with them.
Here are a few of our personal Easter Traditions that I believe bring to life the values associated with this holiday:
- Planting bulbs a month or so before Easter and watching them slowly bloom
- Creating an easter tree- blowing eggs, painting or dying them with watercolours and hanging them on a bare branch placed in a tall vase
- Adorning the Nature Table with Easter and Spring decorations such as bunnies, homemade candles, spring flowers and decorated eggs
- Choosing a toy with the children that is clean, undamaged and special to give to charity (self-sacrifice)
- Telling an Easter story once a week for the few weeks leading up to Easter
- Having an egg hunt on Easter morning in the garden. The children discover many hard boiled eggs (they are less breakable) that are dyed in secret. These are from the Easter Bunny or Easter Hare. At the end of their hunt they usually find a small handmade felt toy or decoration and a small fair-trade chocolate egg in their tiny easter baskets
- Sharing a big family meal together, often hosting or visiting extended family and friends
What are some of your Easter traditions? If you are not religious in the strict sense, do you find it difficult to connect with this holiday? How do you overcome this?