Posted on | April 10, 2012 | 4 Comments
As atheists, Donny and I are working to establish holiday traditions that are in line with our personal values while still allowing us to celebrate along with everyone else. I really want Sebastian (and future siblings) to be able to share holidays with friends and classmates, so we intend to celebrate Easter on the same day as everyone else, with our own annual traditions. As Sebastian gets older, I would like our festivities to focus on the beginning of springtime, more similar to Ostara than mainstream Easter. (We are still very much on the fence about the Easter Bunny!)
This was technically Sebastian’s second Easter, but his first year dyeing eggs and our first year putting together a basket.
It’s pretty easy to celebrate Easter as a non-Christian, as the rituals are largely based in Paganism anyway. Eggs are a symbol of fertility, and decorating eggs is probably my favorite part of the holiday. Sebastian loves eggs – holding them, shelling them, eating them – and I was excited to share this activity with him.
He was completely enthralled from the get-go. There were no smiles, but only because he was concentrating so hard the entire time. I let him crack & smoosh some of the hard-boiled eggs, although I encouraged him not to break all of them. He tried to color them with crayons, but mainly enjoyed dunking them in the color cups over and over, alternating with arranging them back in the carton. (He also liked to dip the crayons in the vinegar-dye solution and suck on them.)
Out of a dozen eggs, we ended up with five that weren’t broken. Three out of five cups of dye also ended up completely spilled. But it was so much fun!
I really wanted to find a nice basket at Goodwill and paint it myself, but every outing with Seb this week ended in massive amounts of wrangling and meltdowns — Just thinking about thrift shopping made me exhausted. This year’s basket was from the good ol’ Dollar Tree. Donny picked up a package of fake grass but the chemical smell was SO strong that it went immediately into the trash. (I had dreams of growing our own Easter grass this year but that too got pushed to next year.) Instead, I cut some felt panels into strips, which I was really happy with.
Donny and I have different preferences when it comes to treats and decorations, so I assume we’ll always do a combination of natural and more commercial Easter treats. I’m sure we’ll do more full, elaborate baskets as Sebastian gets over – I’m really inspired by this Toddler Basket and Baby Easter Basket – but for an 18 month old, this was perfect. Daddy hid a few jellybeans in the plastic eggs. Those and an organic “squeezie” were the favorites. I ended up eating half of his chocolate egg and all of his Peeps – Proof that kids’ gravitation towards candy is learned and not a natural preference!
Pysanky – Ukrainian eggs, hollowed out and decorated in a batik style. More intricate and permanent than dyeing hard-boiled eggs, I hope to start making these part of our family tradition in the coming years. Donny created Pysanky with his mother growing up, so it will be an especially nice project to carry on. ♥ An alter – I have always loved the look of altars and shrines, and would love to set up an alter to usher in the springtime each year. ♥ Daisy crowns/floral headpieces ♥ Ostara pouch – My friend Tiffany’s easy low-budget idea, for candy or other small treats that don’t go in the basket.
What are your family’s Easter traditions? I’d especially love to hear how other atheists/non-Christians celebrate this time of year!