In this ever-racing world where the speed of living is becoming faster and faster, the Waldorf community knows the importance of slow living, of living life more deliberately. Slow living is all about being conscious of the here-and-now, of being present in the moment, of being fully engaged in the moment. This is also the very essence of what is referred to as living mindfully. So, in this blog, we’re going to focus on how to have slow and simple Easter celebrations.
After the long dark nights of the winter season, where nature, plant and animal have been quietly sleeping, we have been experiencing signs all around us of the arrival of the new shoots, leaves and flowers that herald early spring. On March 20th we reached the perfect balance between light and darkness, after which the light becomes ever brighter as we move through the season. Now, in the joy of Easter, we celebrate the call of the sun, the spirit of resurrection and the awakening and renewal in all life.
Unlike Christmas and many other festivals of the year, Easter doesn’t fall on a fixed date. Rather, it falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the spring equinox – in the northern hemisphere – which means that the earliest Easter can be is when a full moon falls on a Saturday, March 21, in which case it’s Sunday, March 22. The latest it can be is when a full moon falls on a Saturday, March 20, in which case Easter will be Sunday, April 25.
So how can we approach our Easter celebrations in a meaningful way?
Easter celebrations offer us the opportunity to fully immerse ourselves in crafts, stories, games, and festivities. All of these ask of us to be in the moment, to stand still and appreciate the new shoot, new bud, new leaves; to spend time painting eggs, decorating the nature table, making rainbow butterflies to adorn the home and classroom.
Or maybe we can take the same walks every day or observe a particular place at the same time each day. These observations and experiences allow the senses to create a window through which our soul can open to this special time of year. There is also a wonderful balance to be found in the forty days of Lent and these forty days after Easter.
There are many symbols and characters across the world that help bring the message of Easter home. A popular one of European descent is the Easter Hare. In stories and legends told about him, it is said that the hare will risk its own life to save its peers and, in this, has become a symbol of resurrection and sacrifice.
In Ancient Egyptian culture, the Hare was a symbol representing the fertility of nature in the spring as well as being connected with the influence of the sun and moon upon the earth. Folklore tells us that the Easter hare is never seen. He is invisible; he is magical and belongs to the moon. On Easter Sunday he hides brightly coloured and beautifully decorated eggs and always, but always, just escapes being seen. In churches, Easter eggs can be religious symbols used for ceremonial purposes.
In the British Isles, right up until the nineteenth century, many people held the belief that at dawn the sun danced for joy on Easter morning. Still, to this day, people head for sacred places or places deep in nature at sunrise to see and take part in this beautiful event. This awakening of the day on Easter morning also symbolised the awakening of nature that had taken place in spring.
But as much as Easter being a place to arrive at, having followed the path from Christmas through Candlemas, Valentines, Shrove Tuesday and Lent, it is also the beginning of the special forty-day journey that leads us on through the festival day of Ascension to Whitsun—or Pentecost. It is said that as the forty days following Easter was the time when the Risen Christ walked upon the earth bestowing wisdom and blessings, this can also be a time of healing and replenishing for us as human beings on earth.
So how can we celebrate Easter Day in a way that has meaning and embodies what’s hoped for in the concept of slow living?
There are lots of wonderful traditions that could be considered. For example, having decorated eggs, your children could deliver some to your neighbours to celebrate the renewal of life. Eggs have always been a symbol of new birth and in the creation myths of many cultures, the egg plays a distinctive role. In pre-Christian times, eggs were often found in graves. Red eggs are central to the Easter celebration in the Orthodox church. At Easter in Greece, red eggs are still sometimes left on the graves of people who have died. Eggs are a symbol of resurrection for Christians. You could choose to plant seeds in a bowl on the nature table to sprout in time for Easter, watch them grow, then VOILA! A red egg could be discovered in the bowl on Easter morning!
Having a hanging branch adorned with brightly coloured Easter eggs is another wonderful way to celebrate Easter and bring meaning to it.
Stories that could be read and explored in this forty-day period could include The Frog Prince, Rapunzel, The Crystal Ball or The Two Brothers – all from the Brothers Grimm. In addition, Easter celebrations such as braiding, weaving, folding paper, baking or working with clay can be explored since they all have an underlying theme of transformation about them.
Celebrate the Waldorf Seasons with the Easter Wheel
This beautiful Wooden Easter Wheel takes children and adults on a journey, celebrating Waldorf Seasons and ultimately to the centre, towards light and a celebration of Easter or Spring Equinox. The wheel allows children to travel through the journey towards Easter, rather than just arriving.
The illustrated wooden wheel captures Spring, with its light joyful energy. Filled with animals and people. The Easter Wheel creates a space on your table or in your home to take time and think about the changing seasons. You could ask children questions like what can you see here, what to spot outside?
Get yours today by visiting the Waldorf Family shop: https://waldorffamily.com/product/easter-wheel-waldorf-seasons/
Many blessings on your Easter celebrations from us here at Waldorf Family to you and yours!