Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Longing for Easter ritual

I have to admit that I love ritual. When it comes to holidays, it is always cherished ritual that creates the special atmosphere. Take Christmas as an example. The most meaningful Christmas moments always come from the rituals we take care to perform each year: decorating the Christmas tree, acting out Luke 2, singing Christmas songs, etc. We humans use rituals to mark things that are truly important - things that are worth having a ritual for. We don't create rituals for just any old thing, we save them for those things which we feel truly matter. I suppose that's why Christmas means so much to so many of us - it's always packed with ritual.

This year as Easter came and went, it left me wondering where the Easter ritual is, specifically in LDS culture. The LDS Church itself has very little ritual associated with any holidays, so I don't really expect the Church to have official rituals relating to Easter, but I wondered why it is that Christmas seems so packed with ritual amongst those in our culture, while Easter passes by with little notice other than us decorating Easter eggs and hiding them for others to find.

The Catholic church has many Easter rituals (Lent, Palm Sunday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, lots of masses) which do appeal to me, but there's just one problem - I'm not Catholic. And I suppose my attraction to their ritual is more an attraction to ritual itself, and not to the specific rituals.

And so I was wondering, as Easter came and went, how to make Easter a more meaningful holiday for me and for my family. And it struck me: give it more ritual! Since ritual is a major part in our recognizing something as significant, if I give more ritual to Easter - and you could, of course, substitute "tradition" for ritual if that helps you understand it better - it will come to mean more to me and to my children.

So I think I will, beginning next year. And of course one of those rituals ("traditions") will be to dye Easter eggs every year. I enjoy it, so why not? We did that this year, had some friends over, and had good success. Below are some images for you to enjoy.
Dave and Merry
Dave Gravett and Merry Packard: aren't they adorable? They win "cutest couple" award.
The Easter-egg gang. From left to right: Marti and Jon Major, Dave Gravett, Merry Packard, and my beautiful wife Camber.
The Easter-egg gang. From left to right: Marti and Jon Major, Dave Gravett, Merry Packard, and my beautiful wife Camber
The best egg of all:
The best egg of all: Mart Major did this one. While cooking the egg I accidentally cracked it, and some of the innards oozed out. Which, of course, if you're an art major immediately means that the egg has rabies and is foaming at the mouth. Brilliant. Just brilliant.

While dying Easter eggs is fun, I really am looking for more spiritual rituals to associate with Easter - which, along with Christmas, celebrates the most important event in our Christian religious history. So the question is, what types of Easter rituals can you add that are as enjoyable (as Christmas rituals often are) as they are meaningful? Any ideas from the crowd? Did/do any of you have any good Easter rituals?


  1. Sean and I have an Easter tradition that we came up with a few years ago and we really enjoy (but somehow didn't manage to actually do it this year - I think it was raining). We wake up on Easter morning and head out to a park or the mountains. We take our scriptures, a hymnal, maybe some pictures of Christ, etc. in a large easter basket. Ideally we would get there before the sun was up, and we sing the Easter hymns, read scriptures about the crucifixion and resurrection, and also share our testimonies with each other. I love singing "He is Risen" as the sun rises in the east because it has a lot of meaning. You can totally copy our tradition if you wish!

  2. I guess our only Easter tradition really is to get together with family, but that's one of the most important ones to me. The meals are different every year, but the sentiment of family togetherness is always the same, and always important.

  3. We have a similar tradition to Catherine's. Since we've been together, my husband and I have enjoyed going to the temple grounds on Easter morning (or afternoon if we have early church and it's cold that day) to read the Easter story in the Bible and sometimes Book of Mormon. We also like to sing some Easter songs. It is a nice little devotional and the weather usually is really serene with beautiful flowers. Being on the temple grounds makes it so nice and there usually is harldy anyone there. Since we've moved to Cincinnati, we can't go to the temple grounds on Easter (it's 100 miles away), so we go to a beautiful arboretum located just a few miles from our home. That has been nice too.

  4. I'm all about Passover-- I'm getting better at cooking lamb, I think, after my second year at it, and the chiroset is always divine. It's not quite Easter, but it's about the same time, and it prepares my mind for it and gives a little perspective on the history of mankind and God's dealing with him.

  5. I've never done this, but you got me thinking about possible rituals to be added, and this one appeals to me. Because Easter is about the atonement and resurrection of Christ, one thing you could do that would make you think about that is to write letters to people you're close to who have died, knowing that you'll see them again in the resurrection. Or for something less morbid, you could sit and reminisce about those who have passed on.

    I also think that anything that reminds you of life and the blessing it is would be a great Easter tradition. You could plant things, go for a hike, or babysit for someone. And dying and eating unfertilized chicken eggs, of course! :D