Little HolyDays: Celebrating the Holy Week

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.

  •  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
      • Hot Cross Buns – so many recipes out there!
      • Easter Bread – trying looking up a particular culture’s Easter bread on google to make it more special to your family
      • Pretzels – from Catholic Icing
      • Resurrection Rolls – also from Catholic Icing
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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!

3 thoughts on “Little HolyDays: Celebrating the Holy Week

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  1. Thanks for all your ideas. You help keep me inspired! I am still trying to plan this next week and decide that best way to both celebrate and be reverent. I agree that it is hard to teach kids about the suffering of Christ especially when they can't even really comprehend the idea of what death is yet. I also agree that some crafts of these subjects can be inappropriate. Nothing says fun like a “Way of the Cross” coloring book!… I kid, but I do like the stain glassed window of the three crosses that you pinned. I think we might attempt that one if I can get my act together. Jimmy also loved making Catholic Icing's Resurrection set last year and was so excited to get it out and set it up today. He wanted to reenact the whole thing and I did my best to help tell the story without being to graphic. I recommend for when Henry is a bit older. I hope you have a Happy Easter!

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  2. Thanks for sharing all these great resources!

    I can definitely relate to wanting to keep things simple, especially when it comes to the more graphic parts of the Easter story. My little guy is four, but I'm still hesitant to go into detail about everything, for fear that he won't really understand all of it, and will ruminate on it – we once read a book about a dog that had passed away (hadn't planned on reading something that dealt with death and grieving, the title was about the dog as the boy's best friend, but now I always check the end of books, just in case!) and Aiden will still occasionally bring it up and get upset. For now, I think we'll be keeping it fairly simple, like you suggested – bad people hurt him, and he died, but then he rose!

    Congratulations again on entering the Church (soon!), I'll be keeping you in my prayers 🙂

    – Hannah

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