Day by Day, Uncertain times 2020

Family traditions for Holy Week and Easter – March 2021

I love the journey of Holy Week; beginning on Palm Sunday and finishing at Easter. We do endeavour to walk through Lent, but it always seems a low time of year anyway, cold and dark, so my intentions at the beginning often don’t make it through to the end! I admire how my Catholic friends observe this season of fasting and penitence. This year we have tried to add habits which will enrich our lives, as well as some limited fasting. I know I’ve not been too ssuccessful at either, so I’m thankful for the grace my Father daily extends to me!

Traditions are a wonderful part of crafting a family culture and of creating a sense of belonging, especially important for adopted of foster children. Easter, coinciding with spring here in the U.K, is one of my favourite times of year, and we jump into celebrating it with enthusiasm. Some of our Holy Week rituals we observe each year, but lots are more spontaneous and happen when the whim takes me. If you’re a mum with younger children reading this, please don’t feel the need to incorporate lots of new activities into your own family right now; remember we’ve built these up over nearly twenty years! You have lots of time to develop your own unique Holy Week celebrations.

So here are some of the traditions we’ve built into our family. I hope they encourage and bring a smile or two.

We love hot cross buns and as soon as I begin to feel spring might be round the corner we begin tucking in!

The week starts with the celebrations and joy of Palm Sunday. Only Jesus know what lay ahead. I wonder what he was feeling while others were celebrating and cheering him on?

Palm Sunday crosses
Palm Sundaes…mint for palms, coloured sweets for cloaks, chocolate for “even the rocks would cry out”.

We vary how we journey spiritually through Lent and Holy Week. Previous years our reading has included Amon’s Adventure which is worth repeated readings, we’ve joined the 40 acts community, especially good with teens, and we’ve used one off Holy Week devotions. This year we are listening to Bach’s St John Passion, with an excellent Lenten music appreciation course.

I like to decorate the house; it’s quite bare of any extra ornaments during Lent, but coming up to Easter we start to some add colour (or clutter?).

An Easter banner I made with Jesus’ seven “I am” statements.
Easter wreath outside our house.
Dancing Toes now decorates this, with eggs made by the boys quite some years ago…
Eggs and chicks were painted by the boys and now Sparkly Eyes arranges them in the basket on the hearth. It’s nice to see how some traditions are passed on.

Easter has its own baking customs.

In “the olden days” we used to invite friends round for afternoon tea on Good Friday. Hot cross buns, Easter cakes and tea, often sitting in warm sunshine in the garden.
We always make Simnel cake.
Chocolate crispie cakes are good for picnics.

Easter provides the opportunity for numerous crafts…some for gifts, some for decoration, some to wear (bonnets) and some just for the fun of it.

We spent a fun afternoon a few years ago with some home ed friends felting eggs.
Easter garden

We celebrate with a Passover meal on Maundy Thursday. This has become more elaborate as the kids have grown up.

We use a booklet called “Christ in the Passover”
With little ones we just ate flat bread, lamb, herbs and had salt water on the table. We go through the meal in more detail now.

I have always found Good Friday a difficult day. My temptation (which I usually succumb to) is to treat it as a run up to the holiday, albeit a little quieter. However, I’m always challenged by the respect with which my Catholic friends live this day. We don’t seem to be very good in the Protestant church at corporate fasting and repentance. This year I feel we need to do this more than ever, so maybe that will be my guide for this Good Friday.

We do, however, put a cross made by Rhythm Dude in his carpentry days, outside our house.

Easter Day! We have a celebratory breakfast, Easter egg hunt, freshly squeezed orange juice and my HWH reads the Easter story. This year we have something else special planned…!

Joy and chocolate filled Easter breakfast
I buy each of the children a Christian book, which is set on the table alongside their Easter eggs. The last couple of years the boys have had audio books/music albums downloads.

Helen and I recently recorded a podcast about our Easter traditions, and it was good to explore how we help our children to hold the tension of pain and suffering alongside hope and joy. Especially relevant for this year.

Thank you again for taking the time to read these thoughts from my heart. I pray that in the midst of all our weariness you might find joy and hope this Easter. Happy Easter!

Christ is risen!

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