The smell of chocolate eggs in the air, fluffy Easter bunnies hopping down the road, families planning to gather and spring flowers popping up in the garden. This can only mean one thing. The Easter weekend, along with Easter activities is almost here.
Easter Sunday is also called Resurrection Sunday. In 2021, this falls on 4th April. Which means Good Friday is 2nd April. Although 2021 has been a very strange year so far with the Covid lockdowns we are STILL experiencing, Easter is a lovely time and well worth celebrating. In the UK, the Good Friday and Easter Monday wrapped around Easter Sunday are bank holidays, meaning we have four days holiday. Spring is well and truly on its way and a wind of hope is pervading the country.
In order to celebrate properly, I believe the Easter holidays should be full of many things. Namely, family, close friends, chocolate eggs, Easter bunnies, Easter activities, crafts and family fun. It is a religious celebration, a family one and is celebrated in style over much of the world. In order to do it justice here, there will be tips on how to celebrate, craft ideas for the family and Easter gifts to buy.
What is Easter?
Firstly, why exactly do we have Easter and why do we celebrate Good Friday and Easter Sunday?
Well, Easter is a Christian holiday, celebrating the resurrection of Christ from the dead. The New Testament, in the Bible, states that Jesus died on the cross. His body was then taken and buried in a cave, with a big stone at the entrance. The Bible goes on to document that on the Sunday, people visiting the cave say that the stone had been been moved and there was no body. It is thought that he rose again on this day, Easter Sunday. Which is why Easter is celebrated by Christians all over the world as the main story at the heart of Christianity.
Where does the word ‘Easter’ originate from?
We do not know for certain where the word originated from. It was thought that it came from ‘Eostre’, the Anglo-Saxon goddess of Spring and Fertility. However, as this is a pagen goddess, it now seems unlikely as Christianity tried to root out all things pagen. It’s now believed that the word ‘Easter’ originated from the Latin phrase ‘albis’. This is the plural of the word ‘alba’, which means dawn. Whichever one it is, the association with spring, dawn and rebirth is a happy one.
Modern traditions now mix with ancient Easter celebrations. Ancient customs include services at sunrise and decorating Easter eggs as a symbol of an empty tomb. Churches are decorated with the Easter Lily which is also a symbol of resurrection. Modern celebrations include egg hunting, the Easter Bunny and Easter parades. As we live in a Christian country, we get to enjoy all of these as well as spending time with our family and friends. This year, it seems more special than ever so lets get on with the Easter activities and ideas.
What can we eat during Easter in 2021?
I love Easter food. Although most of it can now be had all year round, there is more of a focus on it at this time and it is all yummy! Whether its for breakfast, lunch, dinner or just snacks; there is something for all occasions and appetites.
The egg symbolizes the stone that was rolled away from the tomb when it was discovered that Jesus was missing. Consequently, eating eggs for breakfast is a common Easter breakfast. For me, boiled eggs and bread soldiers are delicious!
2. Hot Cross Buns
Yes, these are available all year round but still retain a special meaning at Easter. The lines on the top of the hot cross bun represent the crucifixion so are extra special to eat on this weekend. This is a recipe I am going to make over Easter with my son. Yummy!
3. Roast Lamb
My favorite dinner is a roast and my favorite meat is lamb. So, win, win. Jesus was symbolized as being the sacrificial lamb, hence having a roasted lamb on this weekend is symbolic. The delicious smell pervading the air takes me back to my childhood and makes me think of family. This is a dish we will definitely have as part of our Easter. What will be yours?
Carrots are associated with Easter as rabbits eat them and they are also a vegetable that commonly goes with a roast dinner. There are several great ways to cook them. Raw for a snack, boiled for quickness or roasted for deliciousness.
5. Chocolate eggs
We can’t possibly have an Easter feast without making chocolate eggs, can we? You can buy these almost everywhere at Easter time, but it’s so much more fun to make them with your children. A messy kitchen and chocolatey faces means full hearts as well as full tummies!
Fun Easter activities to do with your children
Now you have the food sorted, it’s time to look at entertaining the children. This time of year is packed full of family friendly activities. Spring is on its way, the weather is getting warmer. Everyone wants to get outside after the winter and its a great time for the children to have a couple of weeks school holiday. Time to get outside, enjoy the warmer weather and spend quality time with siblings and parents.
1. Get out and enjoy the great outdoors
Easter weekend is a long one, enough time to enjoy time in the spring sunshine. Go camping and have a Jamie Oliver picnic Enjoy a countryside walk. Learn about the flowers springing up and spend time connecting with your children. Monday to Friday is often hectic, with school and work. Long weekends are meant to relax, recharge and spend time with our family.
2. Easter Egg Hunt
Easter is a time to turn off the Xbox and TV. Egg hunts have been around for what seems like forever and they are great fun. But before you go buying a lorry full of eggs, you need to do the logistics. Who will be participating? The younger the child, the smaller the geographical area the hunt will have to be. Plan out your route, check the weather for the day, then get down to the fun stuff.
My favorite type of Easter Egg Hunt has slightly ambiguous clues. If you know all the children taking part, you can get together with the parents and make up clues relevant to each child. Imagine the child’s expression when they realize that one of the clues is specially dedicated to them. Makes it all the more personal and fun.
On the day, give all the children the first clue. Each time they find an egg, there will also be a subsequent clue for the next one to be found. I like to make sure the hunt is in a variety of places. Inside the house, garden and maybe in the local street. One year, the weather was awful so mine had to be inside. I was disappointed but from the sounds of my son and his friend running and laughing around the house, it was the best one ever!
Locations for clues
Lead your band of hunters on a journey all over. Inside the house and outside. Make sure the sweet goodies are hidden well so they are not found by accident. Places to hide them can include: inside a shoe, under a pillow, behind the TV, inside a saucepan, behind a favorite book and behind a flower pot. Clues can be fun and a little cryptic, bearing in mind the age of the hunters.
Easter egg hunt clues for older kids (tested on my son)
- Shoes – ‘I protect my wearer from rain and stones. Some like me practical, some enjoy me with heels’.
- TV – ‘Children are addicted to me, football fans like to shout at me. I am full of color and sound but am occasionally dark’.
- Flower pot – ‘I always have dirt inside me, people sometimes forget me but in the summer I look beautiful’.
- Pillow – ‘I can be used in a fight but my main job is to help you sleep’.
- Book – ‘I’m full of adventures and am normally read just before bed’.
3. Easter activities and craft ideas
Easter is one of the best times of year for crafting. The internet is full of ideas, ranging from simple to those that should only be attempted by someone with a design degree! All ages, from toddler to teenager can be entertained and, as well as creating family memories, this helps to build bonds. From drawing pretty Easter pictures to blowing eggs and designing chicks, there is something for everyone.
Crafts – Easter egg design
Easter egg decorating kits are a must. You can cheat a little and buy a kit which comes with everything you need. From egg to paints, brush etc., this is for the busy mum. Instant entertainment. The other solution is to try and DIY it. Not knowing how to get the egg out of the shell without cracking it, I went to BBC Good Food. They have a great guide on blowing out eggs and designing them all in one sitting.
Once you’re decorated your eggs, decide where you will display them. Get a bowl and either fill it with tissue paper and sparkly bits and bobs or go into the garden and gather small twigs to make it more authentic. Display on the kitchen table or on a mantlepiece. Finish off with a sprinkling of glitter.
Crafts – Easter basket
Making an Easter basket is a great activity to do at home. Without needing to buy anything that is not in your normal craft box, you can have an enjoyable afternoon with your child, cutting, gluing, coloring. Once finished, you have created a home for the Easter eggs you have decorated. However, if your child enjoys outdoor activities more than the indoors, buy them a basket they can run around with on their Easter egg hunt.
For the grand finale, we have to look at the selection of Easter eggs available. After all, what is Easter without a big chocolate egg? I have many childhood memories of exchanging Cadbury’s eggs with my family and friends. I would line mine up and keep some for weeks. Anticipation was everything and they were well worth the wait.
Today, as always there is an amazing selection. For the best, head to Fortnum and Mason, where you can purchase chocolate eggs hatched by the finest quality hens! Sticking with eggs of a high caliber, browse at Thorntons, whose selection always make nice presents. You can even personalize one with a message. For a selection of makes, make your way to John Lewis and peruse their beautifully designed eggs.
For our favorite tried and tested brands, its got to be Cadbury’s Easter eggs. Colorful and delicious, we can find them everywhere and are enjoyed by children and adults all over the world. For many more affordable delights, head to Amazon and sample everything from Green and Blacks to Nestle, to Lindt and much, much more.
Your Easter weekend plans
All this talk of chocolate is starting to give me a sugar rush. Easter is not far away now, the lock down is coming to an end and we can finally meet up with people that we care about. Normally, Easter is a fun time, a long weekend, a family meal, crafts with the family and eggs to hunt and eat. This year, it feels extra special. So I am planning to finally meet up with family, eat a lot and celebrate. Whether you are religious or not, it is a special time of year and one to make sure you celebrate.
If you haven’t already, start to plan your Easter activities for over the Easter weekend. Decide who you will be seeing, write a special food menu and order crafting material. Don’t forget to count how many Easter eggs you need to buy and whether any of the children would enjoy an Easter egg hunt. This weekend can be a whole lot of fun if planned for with love.
You are creating memories, so make this a special one. Happy Easter!