Ecards

March 20, 2010

How to Have an Exciting Easter Every Year

Filed under: easter — Tags: , — ecards @ 10:25 am


OK. I’m done with winter. I am READY for it to make an exit. It’s been a pretty long and harsh few months and I can’t wait for warmer weather. Which, hopefully shouldn’t be too far away, considering Easter is around the corner. (April 4) So, have you thought about how to celebrate?

No. I don’t mean how much you’ll spend on each Easter basket, or new clothes and hats, or on travel or whether you’ll tell your kids the story of the Easter bunny. But – how will you actually celebrate this wonderful time of the year? After all, the onset of spring is one of nature’s most spectacular displays. It’s not only pleasant on the eyes and a great time to venture outdoors after months of bitter weather, but it’s also symbolic. To many, spring also represent new beginnings of a different kind.

Now, my family doesn’t really celebrate Easter. But, in my online travels I stumbled upon some really cool Easter activities, crafts and games that I just couldn’t help paying attention to.

I know that the usual Easter egg hunt is fascinating in itself, at least for little ones.  But sometimes, for us adults, doing the same things over and over again every year tends to get monotonous. Planning the same menu, cooking the same meals, the same shopping trips, the same gifts, the same holidays – sometimes you need to break away a little from tradition to value tradition. What do you think?

If you feel the same way and are game for some exciting new stuff to try this Easter, why not try to make up some your own traditions? After all – most of the customs and traditions associated with Easter and other holidays, including Christmas, revolve around the idea of making it appealing and fun for kids. Santa Claus, stockings, Easter bunny, basketful of treats…it’s all about getting the kids excited and to encourage their participation in the holiday.

So, what if you were to create new traditions based on your child’s individual personality or taste?

From making your own Easter basket or Easter bunny from an old sock (http://familyfun.go.com/easter/easter-bunny-crafts-recipes-printables/sock-hop-841022/), to paper crafts, to coming up with Easter games that the entire family could play- did you know that there are countless ways to personalize Easter? Or for that matter any holiday.

Age-old traditions are important and have their place.
However, sometimes, making up little traditions helps to keep the enthusiasm alive.

For example,
* Instead of sticking to the same menu, this year, why not experiment with a new dish to replace one of the usual items. Find a new recipe that you and your child could try out together.
* Or, instead of going for conventional Easter baskets and bunnies, why not spend a couple of afternoons making them from things readily available around your home. (http://familyfun.go.com/easter/easter-crafts/easter-baskets/bunny-basket-665124/). You could use the opportunity to talk about recycling and the environment, or simply have a good time ‘making’ something with your kids. It doesn’t matter how well the crafts turn out, as long as you both had a good time and keep the spirit of tradition alive.
* You could come up with an Easter game(http://www.garvick.com/annual/easter/easter-games.htm) and make it a tradition to play the game every year after Easter lunch.  Or even come up with a new game every year.
* Or take a walk around your neighborhood and identify the different kinds of plants and trees, paying attention to the ones that already show signs of life.
* You could read up on the different ways in which spring is welcomed and celebrated around the world(http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/03/25/spring-holidays-around-th_n_178955.html)and maybe add a few global customs to your Easter celebrations.
With just a little thought and effort, you can turn Easter and every holiday in the year into an exciting learning opportunity for everyone and a family bonding experience. Who knows, your kids may even grow up boasting to their friends that their mom’s holiday traditions were the coolest!

Oh! And don’t forget to add sending free Easter ecards and giving each other free Printable Easter cards to your list of new holiday traditions. That’s something you can do regardless of how you celebrate Easter!!

April 6, 2009

Easter in America

Filed under: about holidays, easter — Tags: , — ecards @ 2:38 pm

 

Easter is one of small handful of religious holidays—the other notable one being Christmas—that is celebrated by most Americans.  Though Easter itself is a specifically Christian celebration, religious and non-religious Americans celebrate the day in fairly equal numbers.

Long before Jesus Christ, according to the Christian Bible, died for mankind’s sins and then rose from the grave on the day we now know as Easter, most societies already had a holiday in place that fell at roughly the same time as Easter does today, and which rivals Easter in terms of popularity.  This is because along with being the purported time that Jesus rose from the grave, the period after the first new moon of the vernal equinox has long been associated as a period of new beginning. 

      After a long and rough winter period, people who based their livelihoods on the environment around them—whether they be farmers or more simple hunter / gatherers—looked forward to the beginning of Spring, as it symbolized the start of another fruitful season of harvest and warm, pleasant weather, for many months to come.

      For this reason Easter in America has turned into a multi-faceted celebration.  Most American Christians begin the day by attending a church service.  The Easter service, commemorating one of Christianity’s most joyous days, is understandably more festive than other services of the year.  There tends to be more singing, less sermonizing, and an overall feeling of good will and cheer in the atmosphere.

From there, revelers return to their homes and, owing to the more secular, spring-related aspects of the Easter celebration, a great meal is prepared and enjoyed by all.  This may seem like a fairly standard part of religious holidays, but with Easter, the roots of the feast part of the celebration have a much more practical, specific reason: years ago, non-Christians who were celebrating the spring season, were so confident in the fruitful harvests to come that they would prepare lavish meals, inviting all their neighbors and family members who could make the journey: the message seemed to be, “we’re soon going to have so many new resources, that we can afford to make such a great meal today.”

Another aspect of the American version of Easter celebrations is the leaving of Easter baskets.  Like Santa Claus and the gifts he leaves underneath the Christmas Tree, the Easter Bunny is said to travel to the homes of children around the world, leaving baskets of candy for them on the night before Easter.  And the gift giving does not always end as the children grow up.  Again, like Christmas, where children receive toys when they are younger, and more “useful” gifts as they grow older, children go from receiving candy baskets on Easter morning, to receiving baskets that are a mixture of snacks and various, but useful, small gifts.  Many American young people even receive Easter baskets after they leave their childhood homes, and travel away to college, receiving care packages of various essentials and knickknacks around the time of the Easter holiday. 

      It may seem strange that such a decisively-religious holiday would be so widely celebrated in America, and in such a wide variety of ways.  But the way Americans celebrate Easter is actually rather symbolic of the country and its history as a whole: America has long been known as a melting pot of different cultures and customs, and so it only makes sense that its marking of the Easter holiday is such a mash-up of different celebratory styles.

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