That joyful season of chocolate eggs and bunnies and lambs and Easter egg hunts and Easter baskets and Easter bonnets and hot cross buns will soon be upon us. Well, perhaps not in the case of hot cross buns because supermarkets such as Coles and Woolworths have been selling them all year round now, so their appearance in the shops are no longer a seasonal marker for me. But when the chocolate eggs and bunnies come out and shops such as Big W start selling Easter baskets and bunny soft toys and Easter trees, then you know things are getting serious, and Easter is literally just around the corner!
Easter is my favourite time of the year, and a lot of that has to do with all the chocolate, of course! But Easter is so much more than just about chocolate eggs. Just like Christmas and Halloween and Diwali and Lunar New Year, Easter has many customs and traditions associated with it, and it's not just about a mysterious rabbit leaving chocolate eggs in the garden for the kids to find (though that's a tradition I'm definitely up for keeping every year!). If you've never thought much about Easter traditions or would like to try some this year beyond feasting on chocolate, then here are ten ideas.
1. Set up an Easter tree Decorating a tree with eggs has been a tradition in countries like Germany for centuries. And I'm glad to say it's been catching on here in Australia! For the last few years, major retailers such as Kmart and Big W have been selling Easter trees. I bought my first one from Kmart in 2015. And we still decorate it with plastic egg decorations every Easter. The good news is, it's a lot easier to pack away than a Christmas tree!
2. Hang an Easter wreath on your door. We hang wreaths on doors for Christmas, so why not hang an Easter wreath this year? Such as the one below from Bed Bath N Table. You could also get crafty and make your own. Check out these gorgeous ideas from Country Living.
3. Decorate your home for Easter. Don't just stop at a tree and wreath. Go the whole bunny (or bilby), and get into the spirit of the season! You'll find plenty of Easter decorations and homewares from stores such as Big W, Kmart, Target, and Bed Bath N Table. If you're in Canberra and prefer to shop locally, then you can find Easter decorations galore at Under the Mistletoe located in Gold Creek.
4. Have an Easter egg hunt. One of the best things about Easter, of course! Because let's face it, Easter really isn't Easter without the Easter egg hunt. If community-wide Easter egg hunts are going ahead in your area (pending COVID-19 restrictions), then join in the Mad March madness! But if that doesn't appeal to you at all but you still want to hunt for eggs, then why not have one in your own backyard? Or at a local park with a group of friends and family?
5. Bake your own hot cross buns
Hot cross buns are available all year round now so hot cross buns lovers can rejoice. But traditionally, they were only eaten on Good Friday. The bun actually represented the end of the fasting period known as Lent so it was consumed on Good Friday which is the end of Lent. If like me, you've been feasting on hot cross buns since they came out in the shops on Boxing Day, then maybe you'd like to try something different and actually make them on Good Friday? I did one year, and though they burnt a bit, they still tasted really nice! You could also bravely follow an old English tradition and hang some hot cross buns in your kitchen from one Good Friday to the next Good Friday. Why? So your house will be protected against fire and all the breads you bake in your kitchen for the year will turn out perfectly. I haven't tried out this particular tradition yet...
6. There's more to Easter bread than hot cross buns. Hot cross buns may be the Easter bread king in countries like Australia and England, but not so in other countries. In Italy, there's the Colomba di Pasqua (Easter dove) bread. In countries like Russia, you'll find paska; the Polish have babka, the Germans feast on osterbrot, and the Dutch love Paasstol. Why not try some of these breads this Easter? You can find them at a local bakery, deli, market, or gourmet food store. Coles sells Colomba di Pasqua every Easter too.
Colomba_di_Pasqua, an Easter bread from Italy Source: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colomba_di_Pasqua
Such as the hugely fun egg and spoon race. Or be like the White House and have an Egg Roll race! In this race, children push an egg through the grass with a long-handled spoon. The Easter Egg Roll is an annual event and is held on the White House South Lawn each Easter Monday for children (age 13 and younger) and their parents. It is hosted by the President of the United States and the First Lady of the United States.
8. Get those eggs cracking!
This is a traditional Easter game played all over the world in various forms. But the idea is the same: you and your opponent each hold a hard-boiled egg. The aim is to tap each other's egg with your own egg and without breaking your egg in the process.
9. Dye those eggs
If the idea of cracking hard-boiled eggs is too much for you, then why not dye them instead? This will make for a fun and messy Easter holiday with the kids! Check out some of these egg-cellent ideas from Better Homes and Gardens.
10. If you're Christian, attend an Easter church service.
For Christians, Easter is the most important time of the year. It commemorates the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, described in the New Testament as having occurred on the third day after his burial following his crucifixion by the Romans. So if you're Christian, then why not attend an Easter church service? For example, for Catholics, there are important masses you can attend such as Palm Sunday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday. Most other Christian denominations will also have services on Good Friday and Easter Sunday. Please check your local churches for more information.
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
Like Christmas, Easter really is a most wonderful time of the year. And like Christmas, there are lots of Easter traditions you can follow every year (such as gorging on chocolate eggs!), adapt to suit you and your family's needs (I wonder if chocolate eggs rather than hard-boiled eggs work better for the egg tapping game?!), try for the very first time this Easter (that would be egg dyeing for me!) or not try at all (I don't think I'll be baking my own hot cross buns again this year or even hanging them from my kitchen for the whole year!).
Whatever you do and whatever traditions you keep, have a very happy Easter, everyone!