Growing up there weren’t really Holy Week Traditions. I knew about Palm Sunday because you got to wave around foliage at church and then we kind of skipped straight into Easter. Now there’s a whole new set of special days to learn about and celebrate – and a lot of church to attend.
In the midst of a very busy week here are a few things that are inspiring our Holy Week Celebrations in our Home.
- Learning the Symbols of Holy Week:
- There are many symbols associated with Holy Week to learn – lambs, eggs, palms, Lillies, etc.
- Catholic Cuisine shows how to work these symbols into your Easter Basket Candy.
- St. Anne’s Helper has Coloring Pages
- Waltzing Matilda has a free booklet you can download about Easter Symbols
- Food, Glorious Food:
- Like the many symbols of Easter, a lot of our food has special meaning that is easily grasped by a small child
- So much to do!
- Making Easter Cards – this is something we’ll be doing with simple stickers of Easter related symbols. Crosses, Lillies, Eggs, etc. Older children could help find uplifting, Easter related quotes from the Bible to write.
- I like this Symbol of the Easter Egg craft from Catholic Inspired
- Decorating Easter Eggs! – Better yet learn about or try to make Pysanky Eggs!
- Growing a Hill of Calvary or Resurrection Garden
- Make Crosses from your Palms
- Teach the full story of Easter thru “Resurrection Eggs” focusing on basic representations and symbols of different parts of the story.
- There is also the option of “Station of the Cross Eggs”, a nice option for teaching the scarier parts of the story without many graphic images. Or perhaps a “Stations of the Resurrection” instead.
A Few Thoughts on Sharing the Easter Story:
It’s proven a little challenging to find ways that I want to celebrate these special days with my two year old. Growing up the whole story was kind of glossed over with a lot of emphasis on the Resurrection – Jesus came back to life, yay, now go eat sugar until you’re comatose. There’s a lot more to the story though, and not all of it’s pretty.
Now, not everyone has the same qualms I do about these things – but oh boy do I find Passion and crucifixion related crafts disturbing. No other time in our lives would we encourage our kids to color pictures or make crafts depicting someone suffering an agonizing death. I don’t think I’ll ever be comfortable with “crafting” these parts of the story. Teaching them? Yes. Crafts? No. In my mind crafts, coloring, etc. isn’t something you do for such a serious subject. (Of course having a toddler who asks to fast forward thru the “scary parts” of The Little Engine That Could is a big factor in my mind too.)
Now as many wise friends have pointed out – there is no Easter Sunday without a Good Friday and that’s so true. It is a key part of the story and of the utmost importance and should not be censored completely, but I think every family needs to take into consideration exactly what and how much of those stories their children are ready for. Personally, I feel more comfortable focusing on the joyful aspects first and the sorrowful later – when I can be assured that my son understands the importance of those sufferings. Without that ability to understand the importance images of the crucifixion, etc. are just a “scary part” of a story he doesn’t quite understand.
I think, for us, these are things that can be built up to in the following years – but for now there’s still a lot of story to cover, symbols to explain and traditions to introduce so for now I’m sticking to a simplified account of the story. “He was betrayed, then bad people did things that hurt him, then he died and buried by a kind man” seems enough for a two year old to grasp right now.
In the end this is just what feels right for our family, this year. I hope you have a Wonderful Holy Week no matter how you share it!