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Simple Preparations for Easter

eastertable

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 (you can find it in the Spring Guide).
  • 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?

2 Comments

  1. Avatar Amy on April 6, 2017 at 1:56 am

    Beautiful! I’ve been struggling to connect with this holiday and make it meaningful for our family – I think we’ll incorporate some of your ideas but Easter is in autumn for us so I was wondering if you had any suggestions for those of us on the other side of the world. Are there ideas in your autumn guide for the southern hemisphere?

  2. Avatar Jen on April 8, 2019 at 9:19 am

    My grandparents had close German friends so my Mum and Aunt grew up in a house with an “Easter tree” long before it was popular in the UK and my sister and I in turn did too. This is a tradition I’ve carried on in to my own home with my husband. This year was the first our son (aged 2) helped to decorate it – he’s a bit young to handle blown eggs yet but he had fun colouring some unbreakable ones that I’m sure we’ll treasure in years to come. Each year I also buy or make a new decoration for my Mum’s Easter “tree” (actually a vase filled with spring blossom branches), and do the same at Christmas-time.

    Since I met my husband we visit his parents every other year and do an Easter trail for our nieces and nephews. Our son will be joining in this year which is very special. Each time the treats I choose get less and less “commercial” although we try to include everyone’s gifts for them in the trail rather than buying extra things just for it, and there are some family members who insist on giving each child a big chocolate egg. For our son’s treats for the trail this year I have an Easter-themed story book, a small chocolate rabbit, a make-a-chick craft activity, and one of his favourite wooden Lanke Kade figures in a spring theme (a lamb).

    We have too many spring bulbs already (!) but we always plant seeds in March and April – sunflowers and cornflowers this year (sweetpeas to follow). I love this idea though so perhaps next year we can do a small indoor bulb arrangement in a clear vase (tulips are great for this).

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