On the eve of Easter (in 2020 it falls on April 19), many parents are faced with the need to tell their children what kind of holiday it is. Similar questions can be asked in any family, regardless of the religion of the household.
As a rule, this is due to the cultural component of the holiday. In kindergartens, kids make crafts and applications on Easter themes, and on TV they talk about the Holy Fire and celebrations every now and then. So the child has questions: what kind of day is this — Easter?
Where to start a conversation
Experts advise simply not to complicate the situation. If a child asks about Easter, it is necessary to answer clearly, clearly and frankly. And most importantly — neutrally, without condemnation and imposition. You should not indulge in deep theological reasoning on the topics of good and evil, suffering and humility, hell and paradise, god-likeness and the trinity of God. It is enough to illuminate Easter for the baby from the point of view of the cultural context, as part of the national tradition (by the way, not one, because not only Orthodox Christians celebrate Easter).
How to answer common children’s questions about Easter
The best way to tell a child about Easter is to consistently answer all the questions that arise. A huge number of them can accumulate, and sometimes a child is only interested in one or two of the most burning ones. Therefore, children’s curiosity should be satisfied in the first place.
Parents can use our small preparations of answers to the most common children’s questions about Easter.
one. Why do people celebrate Easter? The child can be told a short story. For example, that many people believe that a long time ago there lived a man named Jesus Christ on the planet. He was very kind and had many students. But there were people who disliked him: they believed that it was impossible to live happily without being greedy, without envy, without killing or robbing. So they found a way to condemn Jesus and execute him even though they had no proof. Jesus was crucified on the cross — in ancient times, terrible criminals were punished in this way. Although Jesus was innocent, he took the torment and died. However, on the third day he came to life, because he was the son of God — this day is traditionally called Easter. Christians celebrate this day as a sign that people remember Christ and his sufferings, that goodness is immortal. In the old days, this day was considered a symbol of the awakening of nature, new life, hope, goodness.
2. Why do people say «Christ is Risen!» and answer «Truly risen!»? All believers say these words to each other on Easter. They are called «Easter greetings». This custom is very ancient, people pronounce such words as a sign of their joy that Christ has risen. By the way, the Easter greeting exists in most languages of the world, even if there are few Orthodox Christians at the national level in the country. Together with the child, you can get acquainted with different options for general development.
3. Why does the holiday have such a name? It is unlikely that a child will be interested in hearing about the liberation of the Jewish people from the power of the Egyptian pharaoh, and the kids will not understand such a deep historical digression at all. You can simply say that the word «Easter» comes from the word «Pesach», which is translated from Hebrew as «passed by, passed by.» It is possible to explain the meaning in more detail — “suffering and sadness passed by, people had hope for a happy future and the victory of good over evil.”
four. Why is it customary to paint eggs, eat curd Easter and Easter cakes on Easter? This can be explained by a simple tradition. Why is it customary to eat birthday cake and blow out candles on birthdays? Why do people eat Olivier and aspic on New Year’s Eve? Because that’s the way it is! It is also customary to eat Easter cakes and beautiful colored eggs for Easter. Of course, a school-age child can also be told about the symbolic meaning of these attributes: an egg is a symbol of life, and a red egg is a symbol of the blood that Jesus Christ shed, a sweet Easter cake is a reminder of the joy of the resurrection of Christ, cottage cheese Easter is a symbol of the cave where Jesus resurrected.
5. Why are there people who don’t celebrate Easter (or why don’t we celebrate Easter)? You can explain to the child that there are many people on the planet who do not believe in the existence of Jesus Christ. And then there are those who believe in other «higher» beings. For example, in Buddha, in Allah, in Zeus. It is not necessary to go into details, it is enough to explain the situation to the baby according to his own convictions and say that everyone has the right to believe in what he wants, or not to believe in anything at all. But to eat Easter from cottage cheese, rainbow eggs or Easter cake is not forbidden to anyone!
Some unbelieving families completely omit all religious details, telling the child that Easter is a holiday in honor of the real onset of spring and warmth. Such an approach is possible if it does not contradict the beliefs of all household members.
If the child asks questions to which the parents do not know the answer (because of a different religion, worldview, etc.), then you can turn to books. Now in the public domain you can find publications for kids about Easter, the traditions and customs of this holiday (search for hidden eggs, breaking eggs, visiting, Easter bunny, Easter in different countries of the world, etc.).
Easter and quarantine: current situation
If believing parents have a desire to visit a church or temple with their children in order to show the sacrament of Easter as the main celebration of Orthodox Christians, it is necessary to remember the unfavorable coronavirus situation in the country.
Since measures to counteract the spread of the pandemic will still be in effect on April 19, visiting crowded places, which include churches, is prohibited. All services, according to the patriarchate, will be held in the usual manner, but without parishioners, and in an online format. And the patriarch himself urged believers to stay at home and celebrate Easter with their families: for this he personally gave his blessing.