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Easter is More Than Eggs and Bunnies

The Story of Easter

Easter is almost here and though my kids are well into their teen years, I still like to give them little things and try to do small activities with them to make the different holidays fun. In a world of plastic eggs, chocolate bunnies, pre-made baskets, and holidays that are over-commercialized, I have found myself in conversations with Christian friends about how I can celebrate a meaningful Easter (or Christmas) with all of the “distractions”.

I don’t want to make this post highly religious because I don’t believe myself to be highly religious. I have faith but religion is different. But I do find it interesting that many Christians reject so many aspects of the holidays, for the sake of not offending others or to stay “true” to their faith. I understand that the bible states Christians should not do things that can lead others astray and I also understand that sometimes meaning can be lost in the “fun”, but things are what we make of it and with some mindfulness, eggs and bunnies can bring meaning too.

Taking a step further, I will say that I also do not understand the many people who attack Christians and Christianity based on simple things. People will say comments like “Easter wasn’t even on that day and it has ties to paganism so, it isn’t even important.” In my opinion, those thoughts are ridiculous.  People celebrate birthdays and anniversaries on days that are not the “real” date, and it doesn’t make them less important. And while many holidays today have ties to pagan traditions, which were done to win Romans to Christianity, over the course of a couple thousand years, very few are dyeing eggs or putting up Christmas trees for paganism, it simply brings beauty and joy.

I have friends who don’t celebrate holidays because some things about that holiday are tied to paganism or because they are afraid of leading others astray. I know some that don’t celebrate Christmas because Jesus didn’t celebrate his own birthday. There are many reasons some Christians don’t like holidays, and while I find their conviction admirable, I often feel judged by their questions about the “distractions” I allow for my children.

Pagans also ate food, should we not eat food because pagans did this? Was Jesus wrong for enjoying some celebrations? Maybe those are odd questions, and the food thing extreme… but it is something I wonder.

At the end of the day, Easter, to many people is much more than just 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 have tried to use commercial items to help tell a bigger story and we have found some traditions to help us along the way.

Some of the things we have done might help families enjoy holidays on a deeper level. I realize not everyone reading this is religious or even shares in my faith, and that is ok. While I celebrate Jesus and his sacrifice for me (and everyone), it does not mean that others who don’t share in this faith can’t celebrate on a deeper level.

Below are some ideas for everyone, take what you like and respect what you don’t!

Dyeing Easter Eggs

Red Easter EggsEaster eggs or the idea of decorating eggs, pre-dates the Christian era and has been found in ancient Egypt. Eggs symbolize fertility and new life, and many pagans used them to celebrate. Early Christians, who wanted to convert pagans, decided to use some of the pagan 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 in spring, instead of red, spring colors are usually favored, though some continue the tradition of red eggs. Using eggs to symbolize Jesus could be a great way to deepen the understanding of Christ’s sacrifice. Try dyeing a few eggs red this year with the explanation of our “new life” through the blood of Christ or keep the traditional colors but use the eggs to symbolize how becoming a Christian gives us a new life.

Our Family Tradition

We liked using the red eggs to help tell the story, but one idea that my husband and I had one year was to use both red and purple eggs to tell the story of Easter. We created Easter Tomb Eggs.

On Good Friday, we had each child dye an egg red and then had them build a “tomb”. The tomb can be a shoebox inside or it can even be outside using rocks. 

On the night before Easter, after the kiddos have gone to bed, we dye the appropriate amount of eggs purple, as purple is the color of royalty. We then, replace the red eggs with purple ones. Below is a picture of some that we have done in the past. We wrote sayings on them that year with Sharpie, but this isn’t a necessity. 

On Easter, the kids can roll back the tomb rock, so to speak, and see that the eggs are now purple and that through the blood of Christ, we have “new life”. Though once dead, Jesus lives as the King of kings!

The pictures above are from 2015, the second year we did this. To make a tomb our kids put 4 rocks around a plastic strawberry container, they then placed them in the red eggs, and we left them outside in the garden. Late Saturday night, my husband and I dyed 4 eggs purple and replaced the red eggs.

The kids have always loved this and as they have become teenagers they still look forward to it. One of my teen sons asked me just a couple of days ago if we were still doing this. So, I guess this has become a tradition! 

This idea might be met with a little criticism, as Christ was not in the tomb on the 3rd day, so why would kids find any eggs? But it is about relating to children that Jesus went in a man, came out the resurrected King, and though He wasn’t in the tomb he was on Earth.

Some thoughts if you decide to incorporate this into your Easter holiday.

  • You don’t have to place the eggs outside, making a tomb and placing it on the table would work just fine. We put ours outside originally because the kids wanted to use stones for the tomb, but even stones could be placed inside.
  • If you do have the tomb outside there could be issues with raccoons carrying off the eggs. Though that never happened to us it could be an issue, so keep that in mind. 
  • Both red and purple are difficult colors to do on eggs and it can be hard to get a true red or purple. I would suggest ordering a specific dye at least for the red. To get the perfect hues grab this red dye and this purple one. They can be a bit more expensive but the color is true. However, regular red and purple will do the job, so don’t stress about it.

easter tomb eggs

More Faith-Based Ideas for Easter

meaningful Easter
Our Kool-Aid dyed eggs

If red and purple eggs are too much or a little off-putting, perhaps writing on eggs with wax crayons, before coloring, might be a better option. 

For those wanting to relay the message of faith during Easter by doing something a little “extra” to your eggs, you could write words like love or Jesus, and even scripture on the eggs just before dyeing them.

We have done this several times and it can be a great way to allow kids to draw secret codes or drawings on eggs too.

Easter Bunnies

Easter bunnies are another mainstay of Easter and they also have ties to the meanings of fertility and “new life” in paganism. Much like with the eggs, bunnies have made their way into our modern-day Easter celebrations. They can also be a sticky subject with many Christians.

How this is handled is up to each parent but for those of faith, using some of a rabbit’s features to correlate them 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, they both chose to do good things for others
  • Rabbits hop and jump with joy as Christ rejoiced and was thankful
  • Rabbits have large feet to travel far as Christ traveled far to spread the news of his Father
  • The Easter Bunny delivers good gifts to everyone as Jesus gave everyone a good gift

Some might find these a bit out there… and that is ok, these are just some things I have heard or used (the last one is the one we have told our children in the past), and they might help another parent who is finding the balance of faith, commercialism, and fun a bit hard.

Easter Baskets

Easter baskets are perhaps the “big show” to children at Easter time and much like Christmas, we can use the idea of a present to represent the gift Jesus gives us. If this is not something your child is ready for, you could add elements of faith to the basket itself.

Choosing what goes in the basket can be helpful for those wanting to bring more faith to Easter. Here are some ideas…

  • Add a chocolate cross instead of bunny
  • Add an egg with scripture in it alongside eggs with candy. For older kids or teens, add just the chapter and verse and have them look it up!
  • Add an age-appropriate bible into the basket or some bible storybooks and coloring books 
  • Use Resurrection Eggs in your baskets or for egg hunts. You can buy these or make them!

Holy Week

For those with teens or even for those who just want to dive deeper into the true meaning of Easter, using the entire Holy Week from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday is a great way to do this. There are devotionals and tools for this and there are event Holy Week advent calendars, similar to the style you might see at Christmas.

Not Really “Religious”…

Easter baskets
My kids’ 2014 “baskets” Books, boots and candy!

So, what if you aren’t overly religious… can Easter have a deeper meaning?

Well, as I said earlier, I don’t find myself overly religious either. I believe in Jesus, but I often find the modern idea of religion not matching the actual words of Jesus. So, being overly religious isn’t required to find a deeper meaning at Easter.

For those who are not part of the Christian faith but celebrate Easter, the holiday can still be more than bunnies and candy. Easter can be a day of fun and family!

Starting traditions, making special foods, and doing family activities are great ways to make the holiday more meaningful. 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.

Another way to make Easter more special is to be more thoughtful in the purchases we make. I was at a big-box store the other day and I noticed the many trinkets and pre-made Easter baskets. While these items are nice looking, the items that essentially were junk, easily broken things, and would soon be in a landfill.

When buying for Easter baskets include items like books, art supplies, and educational kits. This will make the basket much more meaningful and 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. Creating coupons for your kids’ Easter baskets with things like “A Movie Night with Mom” or “You Choose Game Night” will be a big hit and get the family together!

Having a Great Easter

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 too willing to steal a child’s innocence. I hope some of these ideas are helpful to you and I would love to hear more about your traditions and the ways you bring more meaning to Easter. Comment below and share your ideas or head over to Instagram or Facebook and tag me @bemandfam to share pics… I’d love to see them!

I hope you have a wonderful Easter and for other Easter ideas, including treats, head to my Easter page!

Happy Easter!

BEM+ Fam 🙂

Easter deviled Eggs

PS. This post has some affiliate links, read more about those here.

 

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