Bunnies and Chicks or Cross and Resurrection?
- Elder, some children have asked me why we paint the eggs red.
- Do not allow children to get deadlocked in things like this, because their interests will always go there and they will not go deeper. Only tell them that just as the red egg is round, it symbolizes the earth which was stained with the Blood of Christ and the whole world was redeemed from sin.
From Counsels of Elder Paisios, vol. 6, p. 203 (Greek).
I read these words of Elder Paisios and they made me think:
I wonder what the Elder would have said about the bunnies and chicks, which have become associated with Easter? All these foreign elements certainly have nothing to do with the deeper meaning of the feast.
These days children bring projects like these from school daily. No one brings a drawing of the Resurrection of Lazarus, the Mystical Supper, a decorated Cross. (The same happens at Christmas with Santa Claus and Christmas trees).
This work is therefore left to the parents: to help our children understand the meaning of the feast. Children learn through stories and projects, so here are a few ways:
* Each day of Holy Week (beginning with the Saturday of Lazarus) instead of telling them another story, read to them a passage from the Gospel in a translation they can understand, and discuss it with your children.
* We can stick paper icons on cardboards and decorate them with dried flowers.
* With small paper icons of the Resurrection they can make handmade Easter cards for family and friends. (These can be purchased from all Orthodox Christian bookstores).
* These days are days of fasting and we can with our children try some lenten receipes.
* Effort should be made to paint eggs in the traditional manner with onion skins. (See how here).
* For older children, a book to follow the Holy Week services helps.
* And let us not forget our fellow human beings who have greater needs than us. Together with the children, prepare a package of love, with a little food and clothes we don't need, and give it to the parish. It is a practical teaching of love and philanthropy.
Elder Paisios also said: "If we live Holy Week with reverence and solemnity, we will live with spiritual jubilation and divine joy the Holy Resurrection."
Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos