How to Celebrate Easter With Your Family

family painting easter eggs

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The spring season brings warmer temperatures, bursts of color, outdoor activities, and in the midst of it all, the Easter holiday. A holiday rich in meaning that dates back to early Biblical days, Easter has its roots in Christianity. It commemorates the day of Jesus’ resurrection after his death on the cross.

Though it is not a federal holiday, 79 percent of people in the United States celebrated Easter in 2021. While the meaning behind the day causes it to take on religious importance for some, it is an opportunity to learn more about historical events for others. Some people even enjoy the holiday as a symbolic welcoming of spring.

In this article, we’ll look at the origins of Easter and why the holiday holds a special significance to many. We’ll also discuss ways to honor the holiday. From church services to Easter egg hunts to creating the picture-perfect portrait, we’ll look at special activities you and your family can enjoy in celebration of Easter.

What Is Easter?

The Easter holiday represents one of the foundational tenets upon which Christians build their faith—Jesus being resurrected from death to life. Easter concludes a religious time of sacrifice, called Lent.

Lent is a 40-day period of fasting and prayer. Holy Week comes at the end of Lent, and it includes a number of important days. Holy Thursday celebrates Jesus’ Last Supper with His disciples. Good Friday is the following day, and it commemorates the day Jesus was crucified.

Christians believe that three days after Jesus died on the cross, He was resurrected and rose from the grave. The resurrection day is celebrated on Easter Sunday. The holiday serves as a time of remembrance and celebration.

Easter is also linked to the Jewish holiday of Passover. The Last Supper, which was the meal Jesus ate the night before he was crucified, was a Passover feast. The New Testament of the Bible notes that after Jesus’ arrest and crucifixion, the meal took on a new meaning. The bread eaten during the meal signifies Jesus' “body,” while the wine signifies his “blood” that was shed as he died. These two staples symbolize Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross and are the foundation for Holy Communion.

When Is It Celebrated?

Easter is celebrated on a Sunday each year. The date can fall anywhere between March 22 and April 25. The celebration date is based on the lunar calendar and does not fall on the same calendar day each year. Several proposals were introduced to find a specific date for Easter, but church and denominational leaders could not come to a conclusion.

Why Is It Celebrated?

The holiday is designed to celebrate the fact that Jesus rose from the dead, after being arrested then crucified on the cross.

In the Bible, the New Testament states that Jesus called himself the Son of God and was arrested by Roman authorities for making the claim. He was then sentenced to death by Pontius Pilate, a Roman leader. However, following his death on the cross, the Bible states that Jesus rose from the dead. Easter commemorates Jesus returning to life.

While experts say Jesus’ death occurred sometime between 26 to 36 A.D., scholars believe that the second century marks the first time that the Easter holiday was actually observed.

There are differing opinions on where the name Easter came from. Some historians say it means “spring” and “fertility” and comes from the name of an Anglo-Saxon goddess. Others say it is derived from a Latin phrase that means “dawn.”

Family-Friendly Ways to Celebrate Easter

Though the holiday carries religious significance, not all ways of celebrating Easter are religious in tone. Even for those who only celebrate the history or spring symbolism, there are still ways to celebrate with family and friends.

Take Kids to an Easter Egg Hunt

Many churches and organizations hold Easter egg hunt events. Often held outdoors, the activity can be a great way to promote togetherness and fun. Kids may hunt for colored eggs filled with candy and healthy sweet treats, or actual eggs that have been colored. If you’re looking for a smaller crowd, you can have the hunt with your kids in the backyard.

Attend a Church Service

With Easter being an important Christian holiday, there is an abundance of church services you can attend to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection. You could also gather around the computer and join in with virtual Easter church services streamed live. Some churches even have youth-focused services and activities to celebrate the holiday.

Read the Easter Story

Reading about the story of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection in the Bible as a family is another great way to celebrate the holiday. You can also view the holiday from a more historical perspective and read about how Easter may be celebrated and observed in other countries. It can offer your child a lesson in other belief systems.

Volunteer

Homeless shelters and soup kitchens often serve Easter dinner on the holiday. Take an opportunity to show your children love and caring in action by heading to a soup kitchen to serve others. You may find that your children get a lot of fulfillment from giving.

Take Family Pictures

Easter is the perfect time to celebrate the burgeoning spring season. With lovely pastels and bright colors, it can provide the perfect backdrop for your smiling faces. Many photographers have great springtime backgrounds, or love getting outdoors to take your favorite snapshots.

Enjoy the Great Outdoors

The sunshine and slightly warming temperatures are an invitation for the entire family to get outdoors. You can pull out some sidewalk chalk and let the kids get creative. They can write their names or draw their favorite artwork to commemorate the holiday. Let the kids grab a pillowcase or a potato sack and take part in a bunny hop race. It’s a great way to burn energy and make a fun family memory.

Get Artsy

Easter crafts are available in abundance and a great activity for all ages. Whether it’s coloring an Easter bunny or creating paper flowers, there’s something everyone can enjoy. You can put a charitable spin on your craft activity by making cards for nursing home residents. They love receiving thoughtful tokens of love.

A Word From Verywell

Easter is a holiday that holds special religious and historical significance for people of the Christian faith. That element is important to many; however, it doesn’t mean that those who aren't as religious can’t enjoy the cultural and seasonal joys of the holiday as well.

Reading about different Easter celebrations can provide historical context while taking part in different activities can help you create family traditions of your own. No matter what you decide to do to celebrate, the most important part is spending quality time with your family, and respectfully celebrating and honoring what Easter represents.

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5 Sources
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