Issue 96 is out now
Lucy Corkhill

By Lucy Corkhill

15th April 2014

Whether you’re a Christian who celebrates the resurrection of Christ, a Pagan who celebrates the goddess Eostre and her hare, or simply someone who loves nature, there’s plenty to get excited about at this time of year. Kids are off school and a lot of adults get the Easter weekend off so there’s an opportunity for quality family time. All of the symbolism connected with Easter celebrates new life: eggs, baby bunnies, and lambs to name but a few. Hedgerows are bursting with life, birdsong is in the air, the fields and woods are full of young animals and it feels as if anything is possible.

Lucy Corkhill

By Lucy Corkhill

15th April 2014

Lucy Corkhill

By Lucy Corkhill

15th April 2014

Harness all that wonderful spring energy by creating an Easter celebration that is unique and special to your family, with fun games and traditions to revisit year after year. Here are some ideas to get you started, none of which are directly connected to a particular religion leaving you free to add religious touches if you choose to:

Splash the morning dew on your cheeks! – This is a magical way to start your celebratory weekend and harks back to traditions where maidens bathed in morning dew to preserve beauty. Being outside when the morning has just broken, enjoying birdsong and witnessing the rising of the sun forge a connection with the natural world that resonates throughout the day. Rub morning dew on your face and any other bare skin, enjoy it on the soles of bare feet, and feel supercharged for the day ahead. This might be something you do alone – to connect in with a sense of spring and potential or whatever deity you choose – or you might like to invite your family, if they’re amenable, to enjoy dancing on dew-wet grass with you.

Plant something – prepare some flower pots with soil and give each child a seed to plant on Easter morning. The seed represents the rebirth seen in nature at this time of year and opens up discussion on where seeds come from (as the plant dies back in autumn it releases its seeds for the following year etc.) and how nature is in a perfect cycle of dying back and rebirthing. You might choose to tell your children what the seeds are or leave it for them to discover as they grow. Sunflower seeds are easily identifiable but are also really quick-growing and very fun for little ones when they shoot up higher and higher. Something edible like a tomato or courgette plant is also a lovely way to learn more about nature’s cycles, especially as you can save the seeds and replant them next year.

Create an elaborate egg hunt – A stalwart tradition in many families, this can be as simple or creative as you want. For younger children, hiding little chocolate eggs in the garden is exciting in itself, especially if you leave evidence of the Easter bunny’s visit (seek out some rabbit fur from a local nature area beforehand or place a small basket somewhere in the garden that the bunny has ‘forgotten’). Older children might enjoy a treasure hunt with questions or riddles – these can be familiar in-house jokes or lead to favourite landmarks. A really fun and elaborate egg hunt could be a set of clues that lead you around your locality with surreptitiously stashed eggs on the way; this involves a bit more parental effort in getting up early to lay the clues but is a fun way to hang out as a family all morning.

Make hot cross buns – Theories abound on the history of hot cross buns, from a pagan representation of the moon’s quarters to a Roman treat. They were traditionally eaten on Good Friday, with the symbolism of the cross connected to the Christian beliefs around Easter. But wherever they spring from, hot cross buns can be found in shops across the UK throughout spring (in fact, throughout the year now) and they are incredibly delicious toasted and slathered with butter. Making your own is not only a good activity to do with kids, it also means you can keep an eye on specific ingredients to suit your family’s dietary needs. Find a tasty and easy recipe from BBC Good Food here or a selection of gluten-free hot cross bun recipes here.

Have an egg rolling competition – hard-boil a batch of eggs and decorate them. You might like to try dyeing them or simply get each family member to mark their own egg. Set off with your eggs (preferably in a little Easter basket!) and find somewhere outdoors with a slight hill to race your eggs down. If you don’t bash the eggs too much, you can eat them afterwards in a pleasant spring picnic!

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