We bet you’re all too familiar with Easter eggs and hot cross buns at the moment (who knew they worked so well for breakfast, lunch AND dinner?).
If you think the oval-shaped chocolate thing is a bit overdone, we’ve picked out five lesser-known Easter traditions you can share with your little ones this year. Each idea is kid-friendly, and allows them to get involved every step of the way.
The Easter Egg Roll
Famously practiced every year on the lawn of the White House, Easter egg rolling takes several different forms depending on where in the world you are. However, we think this simple version practiced in the northern reaches of the UK guarantees the most fun.
It’s an easy premise: hard-boil an egg for each person taking part, and once they’ve cooled, get creative with your paintbox to create a totally unique design on them that’ll make them easily identifiable.
Once dried, find your nearest hill, assemble your team in a line at the top and release your eggs after a firm “ready, steady, roll!” The most common indication of a winner is the egg that travels the furthest distance, but why not challenge your little ones to roll it between two strategically placed pegs (which can be moved closer and closer to one another as the game continues)?
Across northern Europe (and also Portugal), it’s common for Easter Fires to be lit throughout the Easter weekend. Back in the day, it was believed that the fire would scare away the darkness of winter.
Why not adopt this traditional as your own by lighting a small-scale bonfire in your back garden, and encouraging your little ones to write down one secret wish on a piece of paper. After you’ve all folded up your wishes, throw them into the fire, tell them that they’re being taken to the skies, and its now their challenge for the rest of the year to try and make them come true!
Think of this delightfully simple tradition as a more seasonal version of the childhood favourite, conkers. Once again, you’ll require a selection of hard-boiled eggs (decoration optional this time!) and a minimum of two players.
The purpose of the game is to crack your partner’s egg by tapping it, but without cracking yours in the process. Standing opposite each other, each person takes it in turns to tap the others egg from above, with a judge who assesses the state of each egg between each go. The winner goes through (with the same egg) to play a new contender, and so on, until only one unbroken egg remains.
Pro tip: a fantastic tap is called a ‘dunch’. Why not create a special ‘Dunch Lunch’ for the winner?
In Sweden, a predominantly secular country, it’s customary for the kids to dress up in old clothes and pretend to be ‘Easter Witches’. In groups, they travel door-to-door in their towns to exchange paintings and collect sweets from other families.
Why not throw your own small-scale celebration the Swedish way? Invite friends and family over for fika (a Swedish concept, meaning “to have coffee” which is often accompanied with cake), and challenge everyone to paint a portrait of a person in the room. At the end, exchange your paintings and share out pre-portioned bags of sweets. For a special Scandi touch, try and include some licorice or cinnamon-flavoured confectionery!
This brilliantly eccentric tradition dates way, way back (to at least the 15th century) where young couples would dance among eggs scattered across the ground, with the aim of leaving as many intact as possible. If the couple completed the dance without breaking a single egg, tradition dictated they should marry.
Nowadays, this isn’t the case, so we’ve put our own Haven spin on it for you to put into practice with the kids. If the weather’s fine, grab an old sheet (or tarpaulin), go outside and place two eggs on top. Put on some music and encourage the kids to dance about, keeping within the limits of the sheet. Stop the music and add another egg onto the sheet, and continue this pattern until the kids are hopping about the place to avoid crushing one underfoot. The game continues until, well, until you’ve had enough!