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Making Time for the Family: An Easter Celebration

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Consolator by Carl Bloch

In our home we celebrate Easter in both secular and non-secular ways. For us the Easter Bunny is not an integral part of our Easter holiday but rather becomes a fun pass time for the children like hunting for eggs while waiting for the Easter feast to cook. Historically Easter coincides with a few other cultural traditions such as the Iranian New Year, Jewish Passover (that recounts the escape of the Israelites from Egypt in addition to the removal of all leaven bread), Catholic lent, and the celebration of the Spring Equinox. Worldwide traditions provide a cache of ideas to pluck from religious and secular alike.

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Women at the Tomb (Author unknown)

The Journey:
Holidays that originate in another country have educational potential. We can learn about the traditions, customs, types of food they ate, their sleeping conditions and games they played. On the Eve of Easter we take a journey back in time. We unpack the tent and roll out our sleeping bags for an indoor family camp out. We sing, dance and play an ancient Roman game of Knucklebones (similar to Jacks) using pebbles. For dinner we enjoy an earthy Eastern meal followed by a short devotional recapping the last few days of Christ’s mortal life.

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“Spring Bunny” by Carolyn Bell

The Spring Bunny:
The Easter Bunny was first introduced in the US by German immigrants. Their culture believed the egg to be a symbol of rebirth. The idea for the Spring Bunny came from a friend of mine. To keep the spirit of Easter focused on Christ the “Spring Bunny” comes hopping around their home on the morning of the first day of Spring. He delivers eggs filled with money and baskets filled with candy and surprises. For Stephen it is a sacrilege not having the Easter Bunny on Easter morning. To appease us both we agreed to adopt the name “Spring Bunny” leaving Easter out of it.

Our Spring Bunny will arrive Easter morning to hide plastic eggs filled with stickers, beads for our reward system and money. The baskets contain a few pieces of candy, a wind up toy (to have races with), bubbles and a small something geared toward each child like a bucket and shovel, a ball, stuffed animals or a book. The idea is to keep it light and fun.

The Easter Feast:
Our Easter table is laden with the fresh bounties that spring has to offer. A white linen tablecloth, symbolic of the cloth that Christ’s body was wrapped in, drapes the table. A bouquet of herbs adorns the table in recognition of the spices that were carried to the tomb to dress the body of Christ. Our meal is meager with spring vegetables, crusty bread and a fruit flavored pork roast.

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Photo of  painted Czech Easter eggs by: Norman Millauer/Getty

Easter Delights:
After Easter service the kids are thrilled to paint Easter eggs, bake cookies, make crafts and hunt for eggs. After hours of hiding and finding eggs we all sit down to watch “Veggie Tales: An Easter Carol.” Before we had kids we always watched “Jesus of Nazareth,” directed by Franco Zeffirelli. Robert Powell is amazing in his gripping portrayal of Jesus the Christ.

A few ideas for families with older kids are:
–Plan a Spring picnic. Pack a lunch and head to the park or country.

–Watch the sunrise. Climb to the roof of your building or set out for the mountains. Bring along some nibbles for breakfast and some blankets.

–Plant a garden. Gather some of your neighbors to plant a neighborhood garden or keep it private in your own backyard.

–Make an advent calender using plastic eggs and an egg carton. Fill the eggs with a scripture from the last days preceding Christ’s death and an item represented in that scripture; leaving the last one empty). Read one each night beginning 12 days before Easter. Some items to include might be 3 dimes, a cross, white linen and so on.

–Make fun decorations like a banner or a special tablecloth.

–Host a neighborhood parade or festival.

–Devise an Easter egg scavenger hunt.

–Play egg relays.

–Pin the tail on the bunny.

–Make oversized Easter Bonnets to wear in the parade.

–Buy a new spring outfit for church.

–Take a family portrait.