Tips to Breathe New Life into Your Easter Traditions
As the hot cross buns and marshmallow eggs start to fill up the shopping aisles, perhaps it’s time to consider how to breathe new life into your Easter traditions…
By Julie Williams – If you’re a Christian parent, this can be a particularly confusing time. Small kids can’t help but get (very) excited about the prospect of visiting bunnies and chocolate eggs. But unless we seek to remind them of the real meaning behind the season, we run the risk of missing an opportunity to celebrate and honour one of the most sacred moments of our faith.
Instead of altogether shunning our modern consumer traditions, here are some ideas to resurrect Easter’s real meaning provided by Julie Williams, from TruthTV, South Africa’s Christian streaming service.
Redeem the ridiculous
There are many outlandish parts to our modern culture’s take on Easter – a big bunny, chickens hatching out of eggs, scurrying about in the garden for hidden chocolate, hot cross buns…. but what about redeeming some of these instead of throwing them out altogether?
In case you feel like this is a crazy thing to do, it’s a tried-and-tested church tradition!
The early church adopted the already-well-known celebrations of the 25th of December and used them to celebrate Jesus’ birth. It was a day that was celebrated for pagan reasons in the ancient world, and though the 4th-century church could have shunned the day, they chose to redeem it instead.
Easter is different. Thanks to the clear dates in the gospels linked to the Jewish Passover festival, we’re sure about the dates of Good Friday and Easter Sunday. But in this instance, our modern culture has disrupted this celebration, adding clever, catchy marketing gimmicks that crowd out almost all of its real meaning (especially for our kids).
Let’s redeem some of these new-fangled traditions instead of throwing them out altogether. Here’s how:
On Holy Thursday, Easter Saturday and Easter Sunday (remember your fast on Good Friday) enjoy a tray of freshly toasted hot cross buns together. As you do, read some of the accounts of Jesus’ fate-filled Friday from the gospels and talk about what this day represents. Take a minute to look at the hot cross buns on your plates…
Hot cross buns have a cross pasted on the front of them to remind us of Jesus’ cross and the great price he paid to bring us home.
The raisins remind us of the grapes made into wine that Jesus offered to his disciples, and the bun itself is a little like the bread he broke for them too. Both the wine and the bread were symbols of his body and blood – broken and poured out so that we could be made whole and united to him.
During the Easter weekend, make a point of watching some movies that point to the Easter story – we have them lined up for you on TruthTV.
Maybe don’t make too much of the Easter Bunny. He’s not the main man or reason for the season – he’s a helper at best. A side-show to the real deal.
On Easter morning, read the story of Jesus’ resurrection account as a family together (in Matthew 28, Luke 24 or John 20). Hone in on Mary who went to a garden on Easter Sunday, looking for Jesus. To her great surprise (and delight) the very gardener she approaches is actually Jesus!
Easter Egg Hunt: The wonder we experience as we uncover some eggs in the garden reminds us of this first, great discovery in a garden, on that first Easter Sunday. The delight we experience upon finding some chocolates are a fraction of the delight she experienced, and that we can experience too when we discover Jesus for ourselves.
If your kids happen upon some chocolate eggs, you could even remind them that the eggs are empty to remind us that the tomb was empty. And it stays empty.
Jesus is alive!
What a wonderful time to celebrate together and redeem the season. May your Easter be full of meaning, special family moments and the joy that can only be found in a resurrected faith and life.
Please support The Southern Cross
Your support means we can keep Catholic news alive so that many others will have free access to the high-quality, trustworthy news they deserve. We seek your support not simply to survive, but to grow in our mandate to share the Good News and keep you informed about your Church and Catholic faith.
Every contribution, however big or small, makes a difference. Support us today – it only takes a minute. Thank you.