What's Going On? Traditions are one of the ways that we build strong community and family bonds. This week marks the celebration of some very important religious holidays in our community. Both Easter and Passover (traditionally known as Pesach) take place this week. Whether you celebrate either or simply enjoy the arrival of spring, family traditions are sure to play an important part of marking this important time.
Easter Doings: At our house, we celebrate Easter. Religious observances all week long draw us together, but the secular celebrations are important, too. Since my own children were youngsters, we have had our annual egg-coloring evening. Coloring eggs together with our grandson has made us enjoy it twice as much! We've always had a speckled egg in among our hard-boiled treasures. It's white and spotted with tiny dots of color made by using the sharp ends of toothpicks dipped in straight food coloring. Likewise every family member "paints" their name on an egg with food coloring ink. And of course, we always make our Easter Bunny cake for dessert. My children are in their mid-thirties now, but the bunny cake still evokes smiles. Whether or not you have your must-do's, there are always opportunities to do new and fun activities with your little ones. Who knows whether or not they'll turn into traditions passed on through the years. Check out some of the websites listed below to see some fun new ways to spend the rest of Easter week together.
Passover Doings: Oftimes, Passover coincides with Easter, but not always. This year they are observed the same week. And, while the focus of each holiday is different, the desire to spend time with family is the same. Passover traditions center on a traditional meal called the Seder. A special plate reserved for Passover is laden with foods that symbolize the time when Moses led the Jews out of slavery in Egypt thousands of years ago. There is always a lamb bone, some bitter herbs, a sweet mixture of fruit, nuts and honey, some parsley or greens, a bowl of salt water, and a roasted egg. As with Christian families celebrating Easter, many Passover traditions center on the children of the family. The youngest child in a Jewish family begins the Seder meal with the traditional question, "Why is this night different than all other nights?" While those time-honored traditions are so significant, you might be looking for some new ways to spend some time with your children during the Passover holiday. Check out some of the websites below to find some new ways to enjoy family time together during this important holiday.
Spring Doings: Who doesn't love spending time outdoors in spring? Plant a tree or shrub with your little ones. Make a new tradition: take the first of many annual photos so that each year you can see how both the plant and the kids have grown. No room for new landscaping? Enjoy someone else's: take the family for a walk down Main Street to admire the newly planted flower boxes filled with daffodils and pansies. to see it in its spring glory. Watch for the alewives running upstream in the rock ramp - their springtime tradition! Later in the evening, listen for spring peepers singing their vernal love songs - at our house we like to let them "peep us to sleep."
Passover websites to check out:
- Help your children learn the story of Pesach with this great narrative rhyming story.
- Sing some great preschool songs to learn about Passover here.
- Have fun playing a game of electronic Simon using Hebrew symbols for Passover.
- Follow step-by-step directions to make some cute Seder table decorations.
- Teens will appreciate what life would have been like for Moses if he had had a laptop.
Easter websites to check out:
- Send a free Easter e-card here.
- Follow step-by-step directions here to make some cute Easter crafts.
- Lots of Easter themed games here.
- This website has lots of Easter songs (no music included, but the tunes are pretty obvious for most of these.)
Spring websites to check out:
- Find directions for some great spring crafts here.
- Lots of spring themed games here.
- This website has lots of spring songs (no music included, but the tunes are pretty obvious for most of these.)
Follow up with a good read: Whatever conventions you follow at your house, make sure you stop at the Riverhead Free Library to pick up a bag of traditionalicious books to read together during those rainy spring days that you just can't enjoy outdoor time with your family. Here are some of my favorites:
- Ollie's Easter Eggs by Olivier Dunrea
- Rechenka's Eggs by Patricia Polacco
- Easter Egg by Jan Brett
- Easter by Gail Gibbons
- Mrs. Katz and Tush by Patricia Polacco
- A Picture Book of Passover by David Adler
- Nachshon, Who Was Afraid to Swim : A Passover Story by Deborah Bodin Cohen
- Hooray For Spring by Iwamura Kazuo
- Spring Things by Bob Raczka