Easter | Holidays

Easter: Fun Facts & Activity Ideas

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Easter is a lovely spring holiday in the Northern Hemisphere (do you know what season it falls in south of the equator?). It is a holiday honored in nearly 100 nations world wide, which means only about half of the world honors this day.

Do you celebrate this day? What do you do? Read on to see how other people pay tribute to this holiday.

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    What is Easter and why do people celebrate it?

    For Christians around the world, Easter is the celebration of the day Jesus rose from the dead. The religious holiday is a time to gather in churches for worship to recognize the miracle of his rebirth. The special occasion leads many to dress in their Sunday-best, and you may still see and Easter bonnet or two.

    But it’s not just Easter Sunday that is observed this time of year. For many, it is a week of remembrance and thanks for the sacrifice Christians believe God made for their sins.

    The Sunday prior to Easter marks the beginning of Holy Week and honors the important events surrounding Jesus’ death and resurrection. These days include:

    ·  Palm Sunday: Jesus arrived in Jerusalem

    ·  Holy Thursday: The Last Supper with Jesus and his disciples

    ·  Good Friday: the crucifixion of Jesus on the cross

    ·  Easter Sunday: Jesus is resurrected

    What date is Easter celebrated?

    Easter is one of those tricky holidays, as its date can change yearly. Easter is always celebrated on a Sunday in the spring. It’s recognized on the first Sunday following the ecclesiastical full moon, which typically occurs on or after March 21st.

    Easter can fall either in the latter part of March or early April. The Orthodox church uses a different calendar and Easter falls later for their church.

    Carnival (aka Mardi Gras)

    The day before Lent begins (always a Wednesday) is sometimes called Fat Tuesday or Mardi Gras or Carnival. It is 47 days before Easter and a day of feasting on foods that will be fasted once Lent starts. For many, this is the beginning of the Easter season.

    Lent: A time of prayers and fasting

    Prior to Easter Sunday, many churches pay tribute to the 40 days Jesus fasted in the desert. Beginning on Ash Wednesday, this time known as Lent, is devoted to prayer and fasting.

    You may see small, black ash crosses smudged on foreheads, worn as a symbol of imperfection, wrongdoings, and need for forgiveness.

    It’s a time to reflect on the temptations Jesus faced and commit to making sacrifices that can lead to positive changes in their lives.

    What foods are eaten on Easter?

    Those creatively decorated Easter eggs are by far the most traditional food for Easter, followed by bread, lamb, and ham. But as we take a peek at the traditional favorites around the world, we find:

    ·  Jamaica and the Caribbean: Molasses and spice buns and cheese are one take on the popular hot cross buns enjoyed worldwide.

    ·  Ecuador: Fanesca is a creamy stew filled with 12 grains which represent the 12 disciples and cod to represent Jesus.

    ·  Finland: Mammi is a type of pudding prepared in advanced and left to sweeten naturally before it is baked, chilled, and served with milk.

    ·  Greece: Kalitsounia is a sweet, mizithra cheese-filled pastry made with brandy, yogurt, cinnamon.

    ·  Ukraine: Paska bread is a light and airy dough that is baked in a tall cylindrical shape. Inside are usually raisins and nuts, although some families will customize the recipe to their tastes.

    How else is Easter celebrated around the world?

    While coloring eggs may be an ancient representation of renewed life, folk customs are an enormous part of the Easter holiday.

    Easter in Ukraine

    Easter is a widely celebrated holiday in Ukraine. It is called Pashka, which is also the word used for Passover. Leading up to the holiday, it is traditional to fast certain foods and then on Easter to take a basket of food (the Easter basked) to be blessed at church.

    The basket is filled with foods that were abstained from during the Lenten season and after it is blessed it is taken home and the foods enjoyed along with the other treats that have been prepared.

    The eggs, called pysanky, that are decorated at this time of year have intricate designs and follow a complex method of using wax and dye one layer at a time.

    People will traditional greet each other with “Christ Is Risen!” to which is returned “He is risen indeed!”

    ukrainian easter eggs called pysanky

    Easter in Finland

    In Finland, children dress in Easter witch costumes and colorful face paint, blending both religious and non-religious traditions.

    Children’s culture expert Reeli Karimäki of Pessi Children’s Art Centre shares, “The little witches then go from door to door, bringing willow twigs decorated with colorful feathers and crepe paper as blessings to drive away evil spirits, in return for treats.”

    They chant rhymes and plant grass seeds in tiny dishes to welcome spring.

    For many children, the day is filled with decorated eggs and chocolate bunny-filled Easter baskets. It’s a day often enjoyed outdoors and gathered with friends and family for feasts.

    two kids in finland at Easter

    What other traditional ways can you discover? Try choosing a country from each continent and learning what many people will do for Easter in that nation.

    Easter activities on and around the holiday may include:

    • ·  Dying and decorating eggs
    • ·  A visit to the Easter Bunny for photos
    • ·  Easter egg hunts
    • ·  Easter Bunny leaves baskets of treats for children to find Easter morning
    • ·  Coloring and crafts across schools and daycares
    • ·  Reading favorite rabbit books
    • ·  Easter parades
    • ·  Lining the streets with colorful carpets made of fruits, vegetables, flowers, and colored sawdust (Antigua)
    • ·  Fireworks celebration in Italy known as Scoppio del Carro

    We encourage you to share these incredible traditions with your children and help them embrace the differences in celebrations around the globe.

    Try a recipe from another country this Easter or add a new activity for your whole family to enjoy. No matter where you are celebrating this year, we wish you a safe and wonderful Easter!

    Easter I Spy preview

      Or, if you prefer to purchase them for only $1 instead of joining our email list, you can do so in our shop (and check out our other awesome printables for your kids while you’re there!)

      Thanks for sharing - You're awesome!

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