One of the blessings of having a young family is developing your own traditions.
This Easter, with our eldest child almost 3 years old, we embarked on finding a family tradition to celebrate as it is the first time she has really understood what is going on.
We didn’t want to do the whole Easter bunny thing as we didn’t want to take away from the true meaning of Easter – Jesus’ death and resurrection and the new life we have in Him. We also didn’t want to buy into the commercialism and chocolate binge that so often takes over.
As I have Greek heritage we decided to take the tradition of dyeing hard boiled eggs red to symbolise Christ’s blood and new life, and playing the game of tapping the ends of the eggs together to crack the opponents egg. This game is called tsougrisma and means “clinking together” or “clashing.”
We also decided on a mini egg hunt, hide-and-seek style. Our daughter has peanut allergy and her behaviour is greatly affected by sugar so we decided on one hollow egg which we would hide and she could find. She could then hide the egg for us to find.
Here is a little glimpse at what we did, and a kind of pictorial DIY tutorial on dyeing the eggs.
Prepare: Line your surface with newspaper (do it outside if it’s fine). Paper towel, vinegar, food dye, measuring spoons and jug, non-porous bowl sitting in a tray to catch any overspill. You can use a stainless steel bowl doe the dyeing but I chose a Pyrex bowl so our daughter could see the colour. I also lined the tray with white paper to make it easier to see.
If you don’t want to go traditional red, this is a great chance to do some colour mixing learning with your little ones. Add the different colours and watch them swirl together and make a new colour. Talk about it! It’s all part of the learning experience!
Next year I will be more prepared and make natural red food dye from boiling Spanish onion skins in the traditional Greek way – our little Miss went a bit crazy with the food colouring that seeped through the shell into the egg!
This bit took some experimenting to get the eggs completely covered. I ended up transferring them to another container.
This is also the time where we played our hide-and-seek egg hunt game. The eggs need to soak in the dye for about 10 minutes. Not too much longer as the vinegar will start to dissolve the egg shell (something my science teacher husband would love to tell you about!).
There’s lots of info out there for making your own natural food dyes if you want to avoid commercial food dyes – we’ll be doing that next year! Onion skins, beetroot, red cabbage, carrots, raspberries or spices like turmeric can all be used to make natural dyes. I found this article here for more information.
So there’s our new family tradition! It was also a great way to get little Miss to eat eggs – she ate three out of the four eggs, scoffed in mouthfuls so big she had to put her hand over her mouth to stop the egg from coming out when she chewed!
With such a fun tradition, all with learning opportunities and personal meaning through heritage and beliefs, we are all looking forward to Easter next year!
What traditions do you have in your family at Easter?