Holiday Traditions for Passover and Easter

by Carles Cavazos Brito

Family ceremonies and rituals help you show your children what's important to you. Some traditions might teach spiritual lessons. Others can share their knowledge about the season. All form the glue that holds families and generations together.

Even if you didn't grow up in a family big on traditions, starting this spring, you can pass on traditions to be cherished by your children and future generations!

We asked Pregnancy.org members how their families celebrate the springtime holidays. Here's what they had to say.

Easter Traditions for Kids

Whether your Easter celebration begins with lent or focuses mainly on non-religious traditions, symbols and rituals can make the season special for your family.

New Life

Karla says, "We set the stage for Easter by potting daffodil bulbs in early January. We water these regularly, but they sit in a dark closet for a couple months. As soon as a shoot appears, we move them to a sunny window. I save one bulb to show the what resurrection means."

Becky says, "Our family loves to make hot cross buns on Good Friday. We invite the grandparents over for a brunch on Saturday and talk about Easter and God's gift to us."

Baskets and Babbles

Mindy says, "Each spring we go shopping for Easter outfits. The new clothes remind us that Easter is a season for new things. For me it means spiritual renewal. For the kids it means new sandals."

Johanna shares, "Easter is a big thing in Germany. We kids made nests of grass in the spring garden. The Easter Bunny would fill them up during the night with decorated eggs and candy."

On an Egg Quest

Carol says, "We spend an evening coloring eggs. Then my husband and I hide them after bedtime. The hunt begins the next morning as soon as the children wake up. They'll find them, hide them again and search over and over."

Sara remembers, "It seems like losing at least one egg has also become a tradition. One year we found the last one tucked up on top of a table leg weeks after Easter."

Stories and Books

Grab a good kids' book and share the traditions surrounding Easter. Here's a list of our favorites.

• "Benjamin's Box: The Story of the Resurrection Eggs," by Melody Carlson, offers a peek into the treasures in Benjamin's box.
• The Runaway Bunny," by Margaret Wise Brown tells baby bunny just how loved she is.
• "My First Easter," by Tomie de Paola is a board book for little ones.
• "An Easter Gift for Me," by Crystal Bowman tells the Easter story for kids 2 and up.

Passover Traditions for Kids

On Passover, Jewish people retell the story of the Exodus. Traditions allow this ancient ritual to speak to you and your family. Our members shared ways that their children learn about Passover.

Beth asks, "Are your kids already scouting out possible hiding places for the afikoman? Mine are making a list of spots they plan to check."

What else are the kids up to?

Chametz: Search and Destroy

Before the Passover, all yeast is cleansed from the house. Mara says, "On the night before Passover we all join in the bedikat chametz. We hide ten pieces of leavened bread. Then the children hunt for them by flashlight. Once all are found, we wrap them all up and burn them the next morning."

Tambourines and Dances

Sharon tell us, "After Seder, our kids enjoy dancing and singing like the women crossing the Red Sea. Earlier in the day, each child builds paper plate tambourine."

Marie says, "We play a guessing game. One of us will hum a few notes of a Passover song. Whoever can name the song, wins."

Holiday Games

Joanne says, "My dad sent plague bags for the kids one year. Each bag was to be opened when we read about the ten plagues. One had frogs and another toys bugs. The favorite contained ping pong balls for hail. The "bagged plagues" have become part of our holiday tradition."

Jessica shares, "We make a big deal out of hiding and finding the afikomen. I make sure the reward is something that can be shared and enjoyed by all the children."

Stories and Books

Grab a good kids' book and read about the ritual and tradition surrounding Passover. It'll give them a leg up on what's happening during the week. Here's a list of our favorites for younger children.

• "What Do You See on Pesach," by Bracha Goetz is part of the boardbook series that introduces tots to holidays.
• "Let's Ask Four Questions," by Madeline Wikler introduces the four questions.
• "Sammy Spider's first Passover," by Sylvia A. Rouss shows Sammy helping out by building an afikomen shaped web.
• "The Magician: An Adaptation from the Yiddish of I. L. Peretz" is a collection of Yiddish folk tales.
• "A Mouse in the Matzoh Factory," by Francine Medoff follows a curious mouse from field to factory.

Tradition and ritual are a lot like family heirlooms. Some you can't imagine living without; others you'd rather tuck away in a corner of the attic. Which family tradition would you like to pass on to the next generation?