15 Ways to Observe Holy Week with Your Family
Traditions -- especially those children can see, hear, feel, smell and taste -- provide vivid
impressions on which parents can build year after year. There are many which will enrich
your own family’s celebration of what might be more accurately called Resurrection Day.
Choose a few from this collection, share their meaning in whatever words your children will
understand, and keep the ones you like as part of your family’s Easter heritage.
1) Resurrection Eggs (TM) : An egg carton filled with a dozen plastic eggs, each containing a
symbol of the Holy Week. Accompanied by twelve brief child-friendly lessons.
2) Palm Sunday: If your church doesn’t make much of Palm Sunday, you might consider just
once attending one that does. For an in-home celebration, read Matthew 2:1-11 together. If
you have a large family or a few friends, you can put together costumes and act out Jesus’
arrival in Jerusalem.
3) Seeds: Seeds offer a clear message to children of the power of new life. Rest eggshell halves
filled with soil in egg carton. Plant a marigold, petunia, or grapefruit seed in each (or even grass
seed for fastest results). Place in sunny window.
4) Art Museums: The Passion of Christ is the most-portrayed subject of Western artists. If you
live in a metropolitan area, a visit to your local art museum may give your family much to
5) Housecleaning: Wednesday of Holy Week has been a traditional day in many countries for
housecleaning -- from the Jewish custom of cleaning before Passover.
6) Passover: Each year more Christians are drawn to celebrate Passover, the feast
commemorating the departure of the Israelites from slavery (Exodus 12). Jesus had come to
Jerusalem to celebrate and was actually crucified on Passover Day. He is the fulfillment of this
tradition, as our own Passover Lamb. For more information on connecting the Old and New
Testaments in this way.
7) Foot Washing: This Maundy Thursday event speaks volumes about Jesus’s desire for us to
serve. Read John 13. Wrap a towel around your waist, as Jesus did, and wash your children’s
feet. Your lives might never be the same.
8) Three Hours: Observe Jesus’ crucifixion by reading the Biblical account together. Sing old
hymns of the Crucifixion and the Cross: “Were You There When They Crucified My Lord?” “The
Old Rugged Cross,” “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross.” Most Catholic churches offer Stations
of the Cross, fourteen plaques circling the interior walls which depict the final hours of Jesus’
life. You may want to visit and contemplate these, one by one.
9) Hot Cross Buns: Traditional Good Friday fare for the family to make and eat together.
Saturday of Holy Week
10) The Passion: Watch Mel Gibson’s portrayal of Jesus’s last hours with older children
(warning: graphic but realistic violence). If your children are younger, If your children are
younger, watch the Jesus Film Project's beautifully-crafted evangelical movie, scripted only with
words from the Gospel of Luke.
11) Easter Greeting: Greet each other with “Alleluia, the Lord is risen!” and answer “He is risen
12) Sunrise Service: Attend one offered by a church, or climb a hill with your family, worship
together, and share a picnic breakfast.
13) Special music: Listen together to Sandi Patti’s moving “Was it a Morning Like This?” Listen
again. Discuss how it must have felt to see our risen Lord. Was anyone who saw him ever the
same? Jesus said those who believe without having seen are blessed (John 20:29).
14) New clothes: New converts were traditionally baptized at Easter, wearing new white
garments to symbolize their new life. If your family has new Easter outfits, share with your
children where this tradition came from.
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