Monday, April 18, 2011

Easter Week Ideas

I've had quite a few people ask if I'll repost my stuff from a while back about Easter traditions.  So here goes!

I think Easter is the best holiday - the most meaningful and the least stressful. I get out the couple of little Easter decorations we own (I'm just not that into cutesy bunnies and pastels so I've never found much I really wanted as far as Easter decor) and add some fresh spring flowers and a bowl of pretty dyed eggs and voila - the house is all decorated for Easter. Then we have special (but very simple) activities we do each day of the week leading up to Easter - and this year all 5 kids have been old enough to really get into all this so it's been especially fun. Here are our basic traditions for Easter week as they've evolved over the last couple years (thanks to great ideas from books and friends and some trial and error):

  • On Palm Sunday, we read about and re-enact Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem (using weeds for palms and Jared for a donkey...). The twins were really into yelling "Hosana!" this year.
  • On Monday we re-enact Jesus cleansing the temple (and this year we went to the temple grounds to feel the peace there and imagine how it must have felt to Jesus to see people showing so little reverence for the temple - I think we'll have to make a trip to the temple a part of our regular Easter week traditions).
  • On Tuesday we dye eggs (the first one has to be red according to Bulgarian custom - I went on my mission to Bulgaria - the red represents death and the egg represents new life - great symbol of death and life coming together).  We talk about how eggs represent new life.
  • On Wednesday we talk about Christ's parables and miracles (the movie "Finding Faith in Christ" and some good books we have help with this).
  • On Thursday we're supposed to have a simple passover supper with lentil stew and pita bread and talk about the Last Supper and the Garden of Gethsemane (but this year Jared and I had our own little passover supper on Tuesday night since our schedule worked out better that way and we just talked about the sacrament and the Last Supper and read about the Garden of Gethsemane.  The kids get the most beautiful looks of empathy on their faces as we talk about Jesus bleeding from every pore as he took the sins of the world upon him.
  • On Friday we watch "The Lamb of God" and talk about the sadness of Christ's death (the wanted to do a reenactment but that seemed a bit sacreligious).
  • Saturday is for the Easter Bunny and egg hunts and all that fun, silly stuff. We make deviled eggs and gorge ourselves on candy. This year it was great to have Mom, Dad, Tal, Anita, Julie and Eli with us for our egg hunt and deviled eggs as well as lots of other fun stuff on Saturday.
  • Easter morning we watch a clip of the resurrection (from the internet or one of the DVDs we have - the old mini-series "Jesus of Nazareth" has some really nice clips of different parts of the last week of Jesus' life on earth and the resurrection) first thing when we wake up and do an egg hunt for plastic eggs filled with symbols of Christ's last week on earth accompanied by scriptures that go with them (a piece of bread for the Last Supper, a rock for the tomb, a little cross, some olive leaves for the Garden of Gethsemane, some nails, some thorns...) plus they find their Easter baskets filled with a few treats and some new Sunday books as well as new Easter clothes. Then we eat eggs benedict and get ready for church.
Our traditions are still evolving - and probably always will be. But it's great to see the kids really starting to understand the real meaning of Easter - and it's great for me as a mom to spread things out over a whole week and do something little every day rather than all the big stuff all at once like at Christmas. I hope my kids will always think of Easter as the best holiday - a great combination of fun and meaning and treats and tokens of the first Easter.

Easter baskets and new clothes - everyone got a little toy, two new books (one "regular," one Sunday-themed church bag book or coloring book), a chocolate bunny
and a handful of little chocolate eggs and jelly beans
Easter outfits - orange and blue theme this year - got to go with
what's on sale combined with what's been handed down from cousins, etc.!

What are your favorite Easter traditions?  


Becky said...

Love those! I need to try some this year. Our favorite tradition is Empty Tomb Rolls where the marshmallow inside a crescent roll melts while cooking so it's 'gone' when you cut or bite into it. Here's a recipe:

Patty Ann said...

Yep, we keep Easter very sacred. I also do new clothes and we talk about how the Savior wants us to put aside the old man and become new. (Hence, get rid of the old clothes and become new). The girls love this and they get two nice dresses a year. One at Easter, and one at Christmas. It is much looked forward to.


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