In a world of plastic eggs, chocolate bunnies, pre-made baskets and holidays that are over commercialized, I am sometimes asked how I can celebrate Easter with stories and candy yet keep true to my faith, but the truth is most traditions can be traced to more meaningful ideas and situations. Easter is more than eggs and bunnies, so… how do you help your family find the meaning of Easter through eggs, bunnies, chocolate and candy? In our family we try to use the commercial items to help tell a bigger story.
Easter eggs or the idea of decorating eggs, pre-dates the Christian era and have been found in ancient Egypt. Eggs symbolize fertility and new life, and many pagans used them in celebrating. Early Christians, who wanted to convert pagans, decided to use some of the pagan’s traditions with unique twists. Christians in Mesopotamia began dyeing eggs red to symbolize the blood of Christ, explaining that it is through the blood of Christ that we are all able to celebrate “new life”. The tradition of dyeing eggs has held strong, but with Easter falling at spring, instead of red, spring colors are usually favored. Dyeing a few eggs red this year with the explanation of our “new life” through the blood of Christ, might be a way to use the eggs to deepen faith.
Another idea is to dye a red egg for each child on Good Friday, telling the Easter Story and then allowing the children to hide the red eggs, place in a shoe box “tomb” or maybe carefully in an outside “tomb” made of rocks. A note here though, if they do hide the eggs it is important that you know where they are. On the night before Easter, after the kiddos have gone to bed, dye the appropriate amount of eggs purple, as purple is the color of royalty, then replace the red eggs with purple ones. On Easter, the kids can roll back the tomb rock, so to speak, and see that the eggs are now purple, that through the blood of Christ we have “new life” and though once dead, Jesus lives as the King of kings!
This is what we do in our family and the above are pictures from 2015. We also did traditional dyeing and had an Easter egg hunt but we have lots of fun with this each year!
The above idea might be met with a little criticism, as Christ was not in the tomb on the 3rd day, but it is about relating to children. Also, if you need help relating the Easter story, try a book here.
If red eggs are too much or a little off putting, perhaps writing on eggs, prior to coloring, with wax crayons, words like “love” or “Jesus” or even scripture, might be a better way to relate the message to your little ones.
Easter bunnies are another mainstay of Easter and they also have ties to the meanings of fertility and “new life”, they can also be a sticky subject. How it is handled is up to each parent but whether it is told that they are “real” or a symbol, using some of their features to correlate to Christ might be helpful. Here are a few…
- Rabbits have no voice to use for complaining as Christ chose not to use his voice for complaining.
- Rabbits hop and jump with joy as Christ rejoiced and was thankful.
- Rabbits have large feet to travel far as Christ traveled far spreading the news of his father.
Easter baskets are perhaps the end all be all to children at Easter time and a great way to explain the meaning of them, is to correlate the basket not just to the concept of children being “good” but also to symbolize the love of God, who continues to give us so much, though we deserve so little.
So, what if you aren’t overly religious? Well, Easter can still be a time for fun and family. The thing I would suggest is making the most of the time but also the purchases. At a big box store the other day I noticed the many trinkets and pre-made Easter baskets, items that essentially were junk, easily broken and soon to be in a landfill. When buying for your children’s baskets including items like books, art supplies, educational kits and the like, will make the basket much more meaningful, of course, don’t forget the candy, but if you are trying to limit candy, replace a few pieces with some quarters or bills in plastic eggs and coupons for things like “A Movie Night with Mom” or “You Choose Game Night”.
Donating as a family to your favorite charity or making Easter baskets for other families could be something to bring more significance to the day, other than just focusing on the candy and eggs.
Whether religious or not, Easter is a great time to get closer to your family and others. I personally believe a mix of “meaning and magic” is a great thing for children, especially in a world that is all to willing to steal a child’s innocence.
I hope you have a wonderful Easter and for other ideas, including treats, click here.
Bet + fam 🙂