An Easter celebration

Today is referred to more commonly as Easter Sunday.

Whilst Christians have been celebrating the Easter weekend since Good Friday, today is actually considered the most important day of the entire year.

It signifies the anniversary of Jesus’ resurrection and ascension to heaven

History

Many Christians celebrate Easter Sunday as the day of Jesus Christ’s resurrection.

Written in the Bible in the New Testament, according to the Gospel of John, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb where Jesus was buried and found it empty.

An angel then told her that Jesus had risen.

Pagen origins

The roots of the Easter traditions and activities can however be traced back to pagan celebrations.

The name Easter is believed to come from Eostara, the goddess of rebirth. In early times the Feast of Eostara celebrated the earth’s resurrection and rebirth.

Easter eggs and the Easter Bunny are both fertility symbols from the feast of Eostara.

Other symbolic parallels include the pagan joy in the rising sun of spring, which coincides with Christians’ joy in the rising Son of God, and the lighting of candles in churches, which corresponds to the pagan bonfires.

When is Easter?

Easter typically falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon occurring on or after the March equinox.

Symbols

Easter eggs

Eggs have always been seen as a symbol of life. During spring time, most ancient cultures celebrated spring festivals by gifting and eating dyed eggs.

For Christians the Easter egg symbolizes the tomb of Jesus. Where he arose, in new light and new life.

In early Easter celebrations eggs were presented at the church to be blessed and sprinkled with holy water. Later on eggs were decorated with gold leaf and sent as gifts to the Royal family.

Eventually people began to dye eggs in bright colors like red,to signify life and the blood of Jesus.

The Easter egg hunt is another custom which involves hiding away decorated Easter eggs for children to seek and find.

Easter bunny

The Easter bunny distributing colorful eggs is one of the most popular symbols of Easter.

There are several reasons for a bunny to be so closely associated with what is predominantly a Christian celebration.One of which is that the burrow of the rabbit signifies the tomb of Christ from which he rises.

Traditionally during Easter children make nests for rabbits in paper baskets and put them out for rabbits to find and fill with eggs.

It is also common for people to eat chocolate bunnies on Easter Sunday as a part of the festivity.

Candles

Candles dismantle darkness by being the medium of light. Similarly, Jesus Christ is looked upon as the medium of light that came to destroy the darkness of the world.

Candles also symbolize hope, which is what Jesus Christ embodies for Christians.

Easter lily

Lilies are a symbol of purity, innocence, hope and grace.

Throughout the Easter period you can find altars and houses adorned by the pristine Easter lily.

Lamb

The symbol of the lamb is strongly rooted in Christian belief.

One of the most important symbols of Easter, the lamb signifies the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

This comes from the Jewish Passover, the event where every family sacrificed a lamb in good faith of their Lord. Jesus Christ laid down his life for all of humanity and hence, became the Passover Lamb.

Chicks

Chicks which hatch during springtime and are also considered to be a symbol of Easter.

Chicks coming out of the eggs resemble Jesus Christ coming out of his Tomb.

Easter bonnet

It was common for Christians to wear new clothes and new hats on Easter Sunday.

During the Easter Parade, women belonging to the upper crust of the society would show off their new clothes and different kinds of new hats in joyous spirit. The Easter Bonnet has now been deeply engrained in the festivities of Easter and become one of the major symbols of Easter.

Children often make Easter hats at school before Easter.

How is Easter celebrated?

Many Christians worldwide celebrate Easter with special church services.

Although Easter maintains great religious significance, many people think of it as a time to get new clothes, decorate eggs and to participate in Easter egg hunts where eggs are hidden by the Easter Bunny.

Children receive Easter baskets full of sweets and presents around this time of the year.

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Understanding Good Friday


Many Christians around the world observe Good Friday on the Friday before Easter Sunday.

Easter Sunday.

It commemorates Jesus Christ’s Passion, crucifixion, and death, which is told in the Christian Bible.

History

There are many theories as to why the day remembering Jesus’ death on the cross is known as Good Friday.

Some people believe that Good Friday originates from the words “God’s Friday”.

Others have interpreted “good” to mean “observed as holy” and thus the day is kept as a holy day of remembrance.

Despite the horrors Jesus endured the event of his death represents an act of love.

Jesus died to pay the price for mankind’s sins.

The Good Friday date is one of the oldest Christian holidays.

Easter symbols

Cross

Good Friday is celebrated in memory of Christ’s Passion, crucifixion, and death.

The most important Good Friday symbol is the crucifix, or cross, which represents the way in which Jesus died.

Some crosses bear a figure of Christ.

Initially, the cross represented a symbol of suffering and loss because Jesus had been crucified on a cross. Later, after his resurrection, Christians began to see the cross as a symbol of His victory over death.

Hot cross bun

Hot buns are a favorite treat over Easter.

Hot cross buns are made by placing the icing on top of the buns in the shape of a cross.

These crosses are in remembrance of Jesus Christ and his sacrifice on the cross.

Here is a delicious recipe shared by Taste to make your own hot cross buns.

https://taste.co.za/recipes/traditional-hot-cross-buns-2/

Pickled fish

Avoiding meat on Good Friday is one of the oldest traditions of Easter.
Christians will not eat flesh on Good Friday, because Jesus sacrificed his flesh for their sins.

Here is a delicious recipe by Cape Town magazine to make your own pickled fish

https://www.capetownmagazine.com/pickled-fish-recipe

Good Friday around the world

Many people in different countries celebrate the anniversary of Jesus Christ’s crucifixion, and death on the Friday before Easter Sunday.

A church services is usually held in the afternoon, from midday to 3pm. This is to remember the hours when Jesus hung on the cross.

Some churches re-enact the procession of the cross.

Kites that are handmade are flown in Bermuda on Good Friday to symbolize the cross that Jesus died on and his ascension into heaven.

Churches in Belgium and Mexico are draped in black on Good Friday in memory of Jesus’ suffering on the cross. The day is solemn and a general air of sadness is felt in many of the towns.

Christians in Poland fast on dry bread and roasted potatoes.

How do you celebrate Easter Friday ?

Host an EGG-cellent Easter Egg Hunt

In just a few short days Easter weekend is here.

We’ve eagerly bought our pickle fish, hot cross buns and Easter eggs and plastered our fridge with the kids Easter art.

Hunt bags and baskets are ready but have you planned the Easter Hunt?

Here are some tips to hosting a hop worthy Egg-cellent Easter Egg hunt.

1. Date

Set a date. Not all Easter Egg hunt happen over Easter. You may want to arrange a hunt the week before with friends or on a specific day to include family members.

2. The rainy day plan

When planning your hunt always make an alternative option for if it rains. The Easter bunny would never dissapoint a child and the hunt must go on.

3. Location

Choose a location that works for your group. Pick an area that’s large enough for your hunters, but not too large that it’s impossible to find the eggs or keep an eye on the kids.

You’ll also want a spot where you can clearly define the boundaries, has plenty of grass, and is set far enough away from a road or any body of water. Try to avoid steps if the children are young.

4. Eggs

Stock up on eggs. This is the most important part of the hunt. A good estimate is about 10 eggs per child. If you worry about the chocolate eggs melting in the sun , you can have the kids find plastic eggs and trade them for real Easter eggs.

5. Hunt bags and baskets

Always keep extra hunt bags or baskets in case a guest arrives without a container to collect their eggs.

6. Hide the eggs

Always count the eggs before hiding them . This way you can account for all the eggs and no one if left hunting for eggs that don’t exist .

Choose hiding spots that make sense for the ages of the kids invited. You’ll want some eggs in more obvious locations for toddlers, and others hidden in more challenging spots for older kids.

7. Hop to it

And hunt for the eggs. It’s always nice if you have kids of mixed ages to either let the younger kids hunt first or to pair an older and younger child so they can work together and share the eggs.

8. Count all the eggs

When you’re certain that all the eggs have been found, it’s time to count. Sometimes even the egg hiders forget about those clever hiding spots.

9. Enjoy

Time to eat the eggs …. Enjoy!

Meet Lambert the Lamb

I’m super egg-cited to say that I’ve fallen in love with the adorable Lambert the Lamb products from www.woolworths.co.za

Two cute plushies that any child would love to cuddle on Easter morning.

This adorable stacking wooden lamb toy for toddlers to learn through play.

A soft pencil case with some fluffy white marshmallows and a Bobby head pencil to match for the tweens.

And last but not least this limited edition handmade chocolate sheep covered in mini marshmallows for the teens. (Or mamma 😉)

NATURAL EASTER EGGS

Dying your own eggs can be fun and inexpensive.

Each year since the bears were small I’ve made what I call dinosaur eggs. Hard boiled eggs that we crack the shell slightly after boiling and leave in food colouring for a few minutes. The result is amazing we all enjoy peeling the messy shell of to reveal a marbled egg.

Last year I posted how to dye your Easter eggs and how it helps to use a whisk.

https://funmammasa.wordpress.com/2017/03/16/craft-how-to-dye-easter-eggs/

This year I thought I’d try something new with the kids and use natural dyes to colour our eggs.

How to make natural dyes.

You can use most common foods and spices to make dyes.

Here’s a list of common dyes and their expected colours….

Yellow onion skins = Yellow to dark orange

Turmeric or cumin = Bright yellow

Red beets = Pink to red

Red onion skins = Pale purple to red

Red cabbage = Blue

Spinach = Green

Purple grape juice (use as is) = Lavender

Coffee (use as is) = Tan to brown

Chili powder = Orange

Raspberries or blackberries = Pink to purple

Yellow or green apple peels = Yellow-green

To make your dye

To make the dye you will need 4 cups of chopped or mashed fruits or vegetables or 4 tablespoons of spice.

Boil this in 4 cups of water and 2 tablespoons of white vinegar.

Let that simmer for 30 minutes.

Strain out the bits of fruits or vegetables. The remaining liquid is your dye.

Place your hard boiled eggs into the dye to soak overnight.

Each batch will differ in hue.

Easter fun at the V & A Waterfront

The V & A is one of my favourite places to take little bear. No matter how many times we visit there is always something new happening and this Easter promises to be just as exciting.

A full program of activities and events has been lined up to keep the kids entertained from the 29th March till the 8th of April.

You can see the full program here http://www.waterfront.co.za/events/Kids/easter-v-and-a-waterfront

Some of the attractions that have caught my attention are :

A little faith …

Those who have read my fb page Sparkarella know that I wear the word Fidem tattooed on my left arm.

Fidem is Latin for faith. 

It’s the word I chose as my mantra many years ago. A reminder to always have faith as with all situations “this too shall pass” and better  days will come .

I wear it on my left arm so that I can remind myself when nothing is going right I have my faith left. 

So this cute mustard seed faith bottle craft really struck a chord in me ….

Simply place a mustard seed in a small glass jar.

Screw a eyelet in and attach chain.

Drill a hole to join a wooden disc to the chain and paint, stick or write the word faith onto the disk.