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Although Easter is a Christian celebration, focused on the resurrection of Jesus, many of the traditions are embraced by people who don’t consider themselves to be of a Christian faith. Lots of the activities, such as easter egg hunts, appeal especially to children, so parents will partake in Easter festivities.
If you’ve got kids, are you ready for Easter, and all it entails? There are plenty of things to do – it can be a good idea to make a list of all the Easter activities you want to squeeze in before Easter Sunday itself!
This year, Easter falls on 9 April, but the date changes from year to year. The question is, why does the date change? The answer doesn’t really make a lot of sense – considering the fact that Easter is meant to be a celebration of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Easter Sunday is calculated using the lunisolar calendar, which was created about 3000 years before Jesus was thought to be born.
This calendar is made up of lunar months which have been adapted to fit into a solar year. Easter always falls on the first Sunday after the full moon following the spring equinox. So probably not what you were expecting!
Christians celebrate Easter in order to commemorate Jesus’s resurrection, as according to Christian belief, he died in order to save humanity from their sins. Holy Week starts the Sunday before Easter, which is known as Palm Sunday. This is because palms were waved as Jesus entered Jerusalem – this is mentioned in all four gospels of the Bible.
Good Friday, which when translated from Old English basically just means ‘Holy Friday’, was the day of the crucifixion, while Easter Sunday was the day of the resurrection. Again, these events are all described in the four Bible gospels.
Just like Santa is said to bring presents for children across the world at Christmas, the Easter Bunny supposedly hides eggs for kids to find at this time of year. But why eggs? Eggs historically symbolise new life and fertility, for obvious reasons. For Christians, eggs have commonly been used to commemorate the resurrection of Jesus. During Holy Week, the week leading up to Easter, eggs were often banned too, and were saved until the day itself.
These traditions led to the Victorians creating satin-covered cardboard eggs, which were filled with treats and given away as gifts. By the turn of the century, this in turn resulted in the creation of chocolate eggs in places like Germany and France.
Giving eggs isn’t just a Western tradition though. In China, the custom of giving friends and family painted eggs in springtime has been around for thousands of years. The start of spring in Egypt also involves eating coloured eggs.
Want to partake in a few Easter activities this year? Make a list of all the things you’re determined to do, and perhaps a list of activities you’d like to take part in if you have the time. Then try to schedule them into your calendar! To help you get started, we’ve explored some of the more common Easter activities below:
An Easter egg hunt is a great way to entertain the kids! Simply hide lots of small eggs around the garden, and see who can collect the most! Just make sure you remember where you’ve hidden all the eggs so none get left behind… And if you don’t want to do your own egg hunt, most National Trust properties hold an annual Easter Egg Hunt which you can join in with!
Decorating eggs in the spring is an old tradition in many parts of the world, so if you haven’t tried it before, perhaps now is the time to start! You can either paint the shells of raw or hard boiled eggs, or if you want to keep the egg until next year, you can hollow out the egg beforehand. This is generally done by making a small hold in the bottom of the egg, and letting the yolk and white slowly drain out.
When we say make a basket, you probably don’t need to take up basket weaving! Putting together a basket for Easter usually just means decorating a basket in which eggs can be collected during an Easter egg hunt. Decorations often include ribbons, fresh spring flowers, and bunny rabbits.
While there are lots of books out there about the resurrection story, if you’re not a Christian, there are also books that feature things like the Easter Bunny and Easter egg hunts! Or you can simply read rabbit themed books with your kids, such as The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter.
Although Easter films aren’t as prolific as Christmas ones, there are still a fair few out there! One of the most well known is Hop, which tells the story of the Easter Bunny’s son trying to make a career out of rock and roll. Lesser known films include The Dog Who Saved Easter, It’s the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown and Ice Age: The Great Egg-Scapade. An underrated movie we’d recommend is Rise Of the Guardians, which includes an Easter Bunny voiced by Hugh Jackman.
Easter is a great time to go and see all the springtime animals! Lambs are being born around this time of year, and ducklings can often be found swimming in lakes and ponds. Visiting a local farm can therefore be a lovely day out for children and adults alike. And if you don’t know of any farm parks near you, you can check out this comprehensive list.
Easter biscuits are traditionally soft and buttery, with currants or raisins sprinkled throughout. They’re very easy to make, and hardly take any time at all. You may have your own recipe, passed down through generations, or you can find plenty online. Mary Berry has a straightforward recipe, which comes with positive reviews!
Like letters to Santa, letters to the Easter Bunny are becoming increasingly popular. Sit down with your kids and help them write a thank you letter to the Easter Bunny, giving thanks for the eggs and chocolate he has hidden for them! You can then write a personalised letter back, signed by the Easter Bunny – there are lots of templates online if you’re unsure what to write.