Easter may be the pinnacle of the liturgical year, but aside from going Mass and sharing a meal with loved ones, when was the last time you truly celebrated the feast? When you were five, perhaps?
It seems like Easter has become a holiday for kids, and that’s a shame. The way we celebrate Easter leaves the impression that it is a lesser holiday, especially when placed beside Christmas, which is absolutely not the case. After all, if there was no Easter—no resurrection—our Christian Faith would be completely meaningless.
It can be hard to know how to celebrate Easter if you don’t have kids (and aren’t one yourself). Indeed, most of the advice to be found online is tailored towards parents and their children. So what can you do if you want to honor the holiest day of the year in a way that is deeper than hunting for eggs and candy? Here are some ideas to get you started.
1. Try your hand at decorating Pysanky
Ukranian Easter eggs, known as pysanky, aren’t your typical, prepackaged dye job. This traditional art form, which dates back to the first Century, uses a special powdered dye and layers of beeswax to create intricate, hand-drawn designs. The eggs are then preserved by tapping small holes in the top and bottom and blowing out the yolk and egg white. You can find traditional Ukrainian designs online, or let your creativity go free and decorate your eggs with anything you want. Turn it into a tradition and make a new egg (or two) to add to your collection every year!
2. Prepare an abundant feast
Most people prepare a nice dinner for Easter at the very least, but why not step it up a notch? If Easter is the most important day of the year, then the feast you sit down to really should outshine all the rest—including Thanksgiving. Easter is the perfect time to bring out all the things you’ve been fasting from all Lent (chocolate, anyone?). If you want to make your feast extra special—and extra Catholic—consider taking an Easter basket to your church to be blessed on Holy Saturday. Breads, sweets, eggs, butter, salt and meats are some traditional choices for an Easter basket blessing.
3. Light an Easter Candle
The Paschal Candle is a large beeswax candle which you have probably seen each week during Mass. The candle, which symbolizes the light of Christ, is lit for every liturgical service during the Easter season. After Easter, it is used for baptisms and funerals. The candle is replaced every year, and is lit for the first time on Easter Vigil—generally from a bonfire at the start of Mass.
This beautiful tradition can be replicated in the home. For Easter this year, consider decorating a white candle to place on your prayer table or as a centerpiece for your dinner table. In the liturgy, there are very specific guidelines for what can be used as a Paschal candle, but at home you have a bit more leeway. Even so, consider following the Church guidelines as best you can. If you can afford it, use a candle made from pure beeswax. For the design, your candle should feature a cross with an alpha symbol above it and an omega symbol below it. The year should also be written on the candle, either at the bottom near the omega symbol or on the sides, with one number in each corner of the cross. Beyond that, you can decorate your candle however you wish.
4. Wear something new
Wearing new clothes on Easter Sunday is a beautiful tradition that can be enjoyed by young and old alike. Just like the white garments that catechumens wear on Easter Vigil, wearing something new on Easter is meant to remind us of our rebirth in Christ. And besides, who doesn’t want an excuse to go shopping?
5. Decorate your home
One of the things that makes Christmas so special is the beautiful decorations. This is something you can do for Easter as well. Beauty uplifts our spirits and reminds us of God. Decorating your home can help to create an atmosphere of joy and celebration. Think whites and golds for the Easter season, as well as other springtime colors. Filling your house with Easter lilies and other flowers is another great way to decorate. You can also find hand-lettered, Easter-themed bible verses or quotes to frame, or buy some art that depicts Jesus after his resurrection.
Whatever you choose to do, remember to keep the focus on the meaning of the season. Above all, make sure to spend some extra time in prayer and consider all that God has done for you.