So much of the Springtime is about rebirth, getting back outdoors, enjoying the promise of emerging life all around us. It seems that with the longer days, the brighter sunshine, the colorful blooms of flowers and the blossoming trees all lend themselves to the backdrop for increasing family time spent outdoors.
Spring is accompanied by the refreshed and renewed time of the vernal equinox–when night and day are just about equal. The sun begins its passage across the celestial equator and there is a sense of an eternal cycle of all things living.
Although routed in very old customs, much of this sense of new life can be traced to the faith of Christians in the resurrected Redeemer, Jesus the Christ. So many of the Easter customs that have become part of our culture have their roots in spiritual beliefs which are now common symbols and spring traditions.
As with a lot of faith traditions, over time and with secularization, customs take on different meanings. Somehow it becomes more purposely wistful to take the light-hearted approach with children in Spring. Families make the time to participate in outdoor activities which are age appropriate, traditional, and great fun.
For example, young children enjoy the “hunt” for colorful Easter Eggs strewn about and hidden from sight. Many of us have vivid memories of the seeing and hearing the excitement and laughter of little ones as they run about seeking the eggs holding treasures inside.
The egg became a symbol for eternal life; and decorated eggs are now solidly an ingredient of fun traditions for children and parents alike. There is joy in the hiding of the eggs; and there is happiness in the finding of them as well.
Many European cultures developed the simple color dying of the eggs to a more artistic, creative level. In Polish and Ukrainian tradition, pysanky eggs are made from eggshells emptied of their contents. The eggs are waxed and dyed various colors with intricate patterns. The symbols reflect various legends surrounding Easter. Each symbol represents a feature of Easter. The eggs are indeed works of art.
Only a creature as whimsical and magical as an Easter Bunny (a quick-footed animal) can accomplish the task of scattering eggs for gleeful children to scoop up into their tiny hands. The colorful eggs on lawns create a vision which can only be seen at Easter.
But even better than the eggs themselves are the yummy Easter baskets stuffed to overflowing with candy eggs, chocolate bunnies, pastel-colored chewy chicks, malted and gummy treats, and, a traditional favorite: colorful jelly beans.
With the newness and freshness of the season, many parents enjoy seeing their children wear their best on this holiday. Girls look lovely in their lacy dresses and “bonnets”; while the young men don suits and leave the sneakers under their beds for a time.
The spirit of the holiday is joy and joy in living. Families soak in the feelings of renewal, celebration and games. And those who still hold Faith traditions believe the source of the brilliant light of Spring and renewed life it brings remains in the one who was sent into the world to bring this joy and hope to all.