17 different women, 36 crazy children, 0 babies in utero
Adventures, Advice and Questions from a group of Mormon women who met in Queens, NY and have now scattered all over the place.

Friday, March 21, 2008

From the Archives 3/06: Easter and Spring

It has never made sense to me to celebrate our Savior's resurrection with the Easter bunny and candy. But I really like chocolate and decorating eggs, so I came up with a compromise for our family that works pretty well.

We celebrate the first day of spring and then Easter as separate holidays. Usually they are pretty close together in date, but this year the first day of spring was Monday March 20th and Easter is Sunday April 16th.

On the morning of the first day of spring, the kids (4 and 20 months) woke up to little spring baskets with colored paper grass and treats--Cadbury eggs, M&Ms and mini Milkyway bars. Then we colored eggs in food coloring and that night for FHE we had several egg hunts--so everyone would get several turns to find and hide the eggs. We planted spring flowers in planters inside and we decorated our windows with special window markers. Then I took our decorated eggs (I had blown them out this year instead of hard boiling them) and put ribbon through them and we hung them on a branch in a vase along with some little wooden ornaments of bunnies and chicks. We also decorated the rest of the house with our spring decorations.

For Easter I have several traditions I would like to do. I thought we could read the events of Jesus’ last week on earth on the days they occur. Then on Friday we will have a meal like the Last Supper-not Passover exactly, but the kinds of foods Jesus would have eaten. On Saturday night we are going to bake some bread I have a recipe for--from the Astoria Ward cookbook. You put the ingredients for the bread together and read the scriptures that go with it. Then you put it in the pre-heated oven, seal the oven with tape, turn off the oven and go to bed. In the morning the bread is baked and hollow just like the empty tomb. On Easter Sunday we will read the testimonies of those who saw the resurrected Savior. I hope to make Easter the spiritual and important holiday it is. It celebrates an even more important event then Christmas really, but it is so easy to forget the main purpose with all the Easter bunny stuff. Do any of you have any more ideas on having a Christ centered Easter?


  • Brandolyn, I love your ideas. Ambitious for me to accomplish any of them, but kudos to you. As for me, I agree with your first sentence. Growing up we always had an easter egg hunt on Sunday and the eggs were filled with money. It was a totally bizarre irony that as an adult I can't stomach. The Easter Bunny also brought us a pretty nice gift on Sunday morning and we always got a new outfit. It became quite materialistic.

    I enjoyed our traditions, but I have tweaked them. I get the girls new dresses but we usually try them on a few weeks ahead of time and try to disassociate it with the actual day. And whatever "pagan" celebration stuff we do, be it egg hunts or otherwise, I save for the Saturday before the actual day. We decorate eggs about a week ahead too. This year my b-day is the Sat. before, and baby girls b-day is the DAY before, so that is going to start throwing a wrench in it as well...I may have just adopted your way of doing things Brandolyn! I like the idea of first day of spring b/c you would enjoy all your decorations and things for a few weeks.

    Here are some ideas from a friend of mine that I have not done yet, but she passed along to me:
    1. Easter Calender - use stickers to mark off the days in March. Do an act of service each day.

    2. Resurrection Eggs - Open one a day starting twelve days before Easter. Read the accompanying scriptures.

    3. Easter Flannel Board Story

    4. Palm Sunday - cut tree boughs and get some coats. Act out Christ’s triumphal entry into the city of Jerusalem.

    5. Lent - talk about Christ’s sacrifice and choose something to give up.

    6. Spring Walk - Look for signs of spring. Talk about what Christ’s resurrection means to us.
    posted by Blogger Kage at 3/27/2006 03:41:00 AM  

  • Amen sister! Ever since I've had kids I've really been bugged by ol' Mr. Easter Bunny. We take such a sacred event and totally mess it up with "getting stuff." When I go to Stop 'n' Shop I want to PUKE at the obnoxious Barbie or Tonka massive pre-celophane-wrapped baskets. Yuck!! It's becoming a christmas wannabe--just have to cram it in a darn basket!

    My mother always gave simple easter baskets with eggs we decorated and some candy. She'd sometimes put our own little stuffed animals inside the baskets to make it look even cuter--but not a new one. I like how she kept it low key.

    When Easter comes along I shy away from easter egg hunts (though they are adorable and I went to our playgroups last year--I never did one growing up) and I find myself not even wanting to talk about an easter bunny and having my kids "believe." But I've done it so far. I think I'd be happier if I told the kids the baskets were from us and the candies are to represent spring, which is symbolic of Christ's resurrection and "rebirth." I like the idea, Brandolyn, of separating it even more, but I don't know if I have the guts. The other ideas you and Kage mentioned would definitely add to a more sacred Easter Sunday--I really appreciate the ideas!
    posted by Blogger Katie at 3/27/2006 06:17:00 AM  

  • Last year it really started bothering me that, in Mormondom, we have no 'build-up' to Easter like many other Christian religions have. The worlds most important event, and we sing a few songs and eat chocolate? Doesn't seem quite appropriate, does it? Husband and I are still sifting through ideas to make our own type of Lenten season (not like Lent, but the same time frame which will build us up and prepare us for Easter). Anyhoo...last year I bought a great book at the local church bookstore called A Christ Centered Easter by Janet and Joe Hales. I put that because I can't in good faith list their really good ideas and say Look! Do this! and take the idea as my own. The book is full of ideas for each day of Easter week, and then has a lot more information, resources and ideas at the back - really the 2nd half of the book.
    posted by Blogger Julie at 3/27/2006 08:51:00 AM  

  • Thanks for the books suggestion Julie. I looked it up on Amazon and they don't sell it. But the LDS online bookstores do. I wouldn't order it from Deseret Book though if you want to get it sometime before this Easter. Here is a link an article written by Janet Hales about their book. It looks really great.
    posted by Blogger TftCarrie at 3/27/2006 03:03:00 PM  

  • I've never really thought about it until this last year. And I have to agree with everything that's been said --Easter is almost a "left-over" holiday; a Day that people remember but usually don't think about.
    The pinnacle of our religion occurred that weekend --the Plan of Salvation was being fulfilled...And if we delve further into Church doctrine, wasn't Christ born in April, too?

    Man, I love your ideas --I'm thinking I'm going to have to start some new traditions...
    posted by Blogger Cheryl at 3/27/2006 08:04:00 PM  

  • ooh i wish you'd have posted this a couple of weeks ago!! (i forgive you though.) Great ideas, and since I LOOOOOVE spring, I love the idea of celebrating the beginning of spring. I also want to focus more on the Savior during the holiday. For the adults, I highly recommend seeing The Passion of the Christ. It really made me remember the reality of Christ's suffering. It is definitely not appropriate for non-adults, though.

    Thamks for these great ideas! Maybe we'll just do a belated Spring Day this year.
    posted by Blogger mindy at 3/27/2006 10:14:00 PM  

  • I didn't grow up with the whole Easter Bunny thing, and my parents tried to come up with something fun on a different day, but it never worked out.

    Then, one day when we were first married it hit me: May 1st. May Day. Beltane. The ancient druidic celebration of Spring. So, when our kids were little, I started giving them May Day baskets, and we dye eggs and wear flower wreaths and eat chocolate bunnies with abandon. In fact, my second daughter said last year, "May Day's about chocolate bunnies, right?" I couldn't disagree.

    I like celebrating spring on May Day for a couple of reaons: 1) it's completely removed from Easter. The spring decorations (I stay away from the bunnies -- it's mostly flowers) don't go up until after Easter. And there is absolutely no confusion as to what we're celebrating. And 2)I always get the stuff on sale after Easter. Silly reason, but it works.

    As for Easter traditions We celebrate Lent -- giving up something (this year it's chocolate), and remembering Jesus' time in the wilderness. We have a somewhat symbolic Easter meal (my parents have taken it one step further, having a Passover-seder like meal, with questions and answers and symbolic foods). We light a candle for the light of Christ, and have a sheep at each plate, reminding us that Christ is our shepherd, and the Lamb of God, and we are all his sheep.

    It all works better than a rabbit hopping around delivering eggs.

    By the way, The Easter Story (I think she retitled it to The First Easter) by Carol Heyer and The Three Trees by Angela Hunt (it's usually considered a Christmas book, but in our house it's an Easter one) are great Easter books.
    posted by Blogger Melissa at 3/28/2006 02:36:00 PM  

  • I distinctly remember a few sundays actually dying easter eggs and listening to conference. My dad was furious.
    These are all great ideas and considering the world will only get to be more commercial we have to be prepared to teach our own families the true meaning of special days like these.
    posted by Blogger ksl at 3/29/2006 08:44:00 AM  

  • Julie M. Smith from Times and Seasons has posted great instructions here for the "Resurrection Eggs" activity mentioned in Kage's comment.
    posted by Blogger TftCarrie at 3/29/2006 05:08:00 PM  

  • Great ideas, Brandolyn - I'm spring inspired now.
    posted by Blogger chloe at 3/29/2006 08:19:00 PM  

  • Julie M. Smith has added yet another post over at T&S that relates to the celebration of Easter. She reviews a book called Celebrating Passover: A Guide to Understanding the Jewish Feast for Latter-day Saints. It sounds like a great resource. We prepared a Passover dinner and had someone talk about it's symbolism for the Youth in my old ward last year and it was very successful and fun.
    posted by Blogger TftCarrie at 3/30/2006 01:01:00 PM  

  • I invited a Catholic family over for FHE and we did the Resurrection Eggs followed by dying easter eggs and decorating cupcakes. It was really fun, I am really glad I had great ideas and was brave and invited someone into my comfort zone.
    posted by Blogger Kage at 4/11/2006 03:08:00 PM  

  • I would love the bread recipe. Could you share?
    posted by Blogger Emi at 3/21/2008 03:30:00 PM  

  • I've been thinking a lot about traditions this year and how I want to incorporate them into our family now that my kids are old enough. I've been a bit stumped about how I want to approach Easter and so thank you for all the great ideas. I LOVE the idea that Melissa posted about celebrating for May Day and keeping Easter separate to celebrate Christ. Brilliant!
    posted by Blogger Kacey at 3/21/2008 07:16:00 PM  

  • Would you post the bread recipe? It sounds really cool. Thanks, EB
    posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 3/22/2008 10:21:00 AM  

  • I don't know if Brandolyn will respond to the recipe requests, and I can't find my old astoria cookbook, but this recipe is pretty close to the idea.
    posted by Blogger TftCarrie at 3/22/2008 01:41:00 PM  

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