As a child, we observed Easter in two ways. One was purely religious and the other was more secular. The secular observances were always fun, and we could share them with others who didn’t follow the religious aspects. Here are a few things to keep in mind if you plan to share in these traditions.
Easter Baskets: The only other time of year we had access to this much candy was Halloween. Jelly beans, chocolate and other sweet treats filled the basket. This can be both good and bad. The good: it’s fun. The bad, too many sweets can cause upset stomachs and cause cavities. Our parents let us have the candy in a supervised manner to help avoid these problems.
Easter Egg Hunts: From the creative enjoyment of dyeing the eggs to the suspense of finding them all, Easter egg hunts were great. They also provided exercise and cognitive thought. Where might someone hide an egg?
There are two potential problems. The first is rare. Eating too many of the eggs at a time can also produce an upset stomach, this is one I’ve seen happen. The second is a little more likely. The eggs need refrigeration to remain safe. If the hunt takes too long, some of the eggs aren’t found right away or they are left out they could cause food poisoning. Of course, you can avoid both of those problems by filling plastic eggs with treats.
Live Animals: Please, don’t. I grew up on a farm and raising baby chicks and rabbits takes time and work. It also takes patience, the right equipment and the right environment. Rented animals are just as bad, except you don’t have to watch the poor animal suffer and die…or clean up the mess.
Some of the chicks are dyed in the egg. If it isn’t done properly, the growing chick in the egg dies. While the dye put on the outside of the chick is usually nontoxic for kids, it may not be safe for the chick. Stuffed animals are much better than live ones unless you are prepared for the expense and time it takes to care for the animal all of its life.
Sassafras Tea: Many people won’t understand why this is mentioned. It is an Appalachian tradition. Sassafras tea is served during or after Easter dinner. It is considered a blood purifier and tonic. While I have known people who observe this tradition that lived long lives, as a master herbalist I have to point out that it is considered a carcinogen. It might be wiser to choose another, safer beverage.
Secular Easter traditions add to the joy of the occasion. These tips can help you keep that joy. May your Easter celebrations be blessed.