Growing up Greek Orthodox, my family usually celebrated two Easter Sundays. It’s what we called “American” Easter and then “Orthodox” Easter. As a little girl, it meant two Easter baskets, two Egg Hunts, two of EVERYTHING yummy and delicious about Easter Sunday.
As I have gotten older and have felt the meaning of Jesus’ redemptive gift for my life, I still celebrate two Easter Sundays but very differently than before. I have taken many of my childhood traditions and spread them out over Palm Sunday, Passover, American Easter and Orthodox Easter. It serves a two-fold purpose. One I can really do each activity with my children so that they understand better the meaning behind this time of year and two I’m not trying to cram in so much into one “special” day. After all, Jesus’ sacrifice for us is good for all 365 days of every year. So why not, enjoy the wonder and miracle of our Lord by really enjoying this time with our family. I have included several Easter ideas that you may want to incorporate into your family traditions.
- Egg Hunt – the egg hunt is for everyone but besides candy, my husband and I include money and scripture verses. Each child (we have five) has their own color that they search for; therefore, we can pack these eggs specifically for each child (The 21 year old son could use the money and the 3 year old son would prefer the peeps. ?)
- Resurrection Eggs – My children pick a day to invite friends over and we do another egg hunt – it’s more like a treasure hunt really. It’s fun and we put little trinkets inside these eggs. After the hunt is finished, while the friends are enjoying candy and toys, one of our children shares the Resurrection Eggs story (which you can purchase from any Christian Book Store) with everyone around. We have been surprised over the years how many of our friends and neighbors were blessed by this reminder of God’s love for them. (And remember, this hunt is totally separate from the other and kept VERY simple – having the children help make these eggs keeps it even more simple.)
- Dying Easter eggs – We love to dye eggs but will not do it until it’s a nice enough day outside. There is no pressure on when this gets done. We have a good time decorating them and spend time laughing over it. We have little contests to see which one is the shiniest or dullest or most colorful, etc. (Note: To make your eggs shiny just spread on some Crisco after you’re finished dying . . . they look luxurious.)
- The Egg Cracking Game – In my Greek family, we would hold out our one egg (that we thought was strongest) and the other person would take their egg and give one swift motion to try to crack it. If yours did not crack, then you got to do the same to the other person’s egg. You continue to go back and forth until someone’s egg cracks. It’s fun and surprising how strong these eggs can be.
- Lastly, this is the time to pull out “legacy recipes”. If you do not have a “legacy recipe,” start one. Our baklava recipe is a “legacy recipe” that has been passed down from my great grandmother and my children and I make it together. It’s a time for me to talk about old stories of how my family arrived to this country but also time for us to tell our own fun stories that we will pass down to future children and grandchildren. Again, the recipe does not need to be complicated, just a delicious recipe that you would want your children to continue to make for years to come.
Well, there you have it! Make your Easter full of joy and love by spreading the holiday out as long or as short over your Spring time! It is nice to feel relaxed and be able to truly reflect on the freedom that Jesus’s death and resurrection brings to us. FREEDOM. The freedom to dye eggs whenever it works best for you and your family. The freedom to do an egg hunt, three weeks after Easter is officially over. The freedom to say, “no matter what the calendar states, we will eat chocolate bunnies and talk about the goodness of our Lord.” Setting the captives free is what our Lord’s sacrifice is all about. Let’s reveal in that this year, by being free indeed.
Article Written by: Cindy Aitkin