For those of us who celebrate Easter, the entire Lenten season is now boiled down into this Holy Week that began with Palm Sunday and will continue this week until Easter Sunday.
There are many wonderful ways to celebrate Holy Week as a family, in addition to attending your local place of worship. Here are a few of our favorite family traditions:
- Create an Easter Garden with small figurines. Small children usually love this.
- Dye eggs with natural dyes, which is enjoyable for all ages. Eggs were a symbol of creation, spring, and fertility long before Christianity. The Persians exchanged eggs at the new year; the Romans gave red painted eggs as a gift at new year. Christianity adopted eggs as a symbol of the resurrection, and there are many wonderful stories about the resurrection and red eggs. If you know any Orthodox Christians, ask if they have an icon of Mary Magdalene that they would be willing to show you -some icons have her depicted holding a red egg, so you can find out the story behind that!
- In the Anglican tradition (of which my family is a part of), we keep vigil and pray during the time from the Last Supper to the time of the Crucifixion on Good Friday. If you can find an Episcopalian parish in your area, prayer vigils are often held all night there after Maundy Thursday Mass and times are rotated amongst members of the parish all night long.
- On Good Friday, you can bury a cross in a white shroud and uncover it on Easter. In our religious tradition, we decorate the cross on Easter with a multitude of beautiful fresh flowers. This flowering cross on Easter Sunday is especially beautiful, and would be doable to do at home as well as in a community of worship.
- Spend time in nature and silence on Holy Saturday, the day before Easter.
- Create an Easter Candle, and bring home fire from the Paschal Candle at church to light your family Easter Candle.
- Bake Easter Bread to be eaten on Easter Sunday.
- You can make hot cross buns in order to break the fast on Good Friday (after sundown). This tradition may have started with a 12th century monk in England who distributed buns to the needy on Good Friday, and it continues to be a tradition to this day.
I would love to hear your Holy Week traditions!
Blessings and love,