How do you celebrate Easter?

What do you do to commemorate Christ’s resurrection?

Modern culture, at least publicly, outside of Christian churches, doesn’t celebrate Easter as much as many other holidays or commemorations. Christmas, Halloween, Independence Day, Memorial Day and Valentines Day all seem to get more attention. I suspect that this is, at least in part, because they have become more commercial, and in doing so have captured the imagination of the public. And to a degree this happens for Easter also, but for some reason the commercialization is not nearly as strong as Christmas, for example. The Easter Bunny just isn’t as popular as Santa Claus.

I’m actually glad for this to a degree. I think that celebrating the actual culminating event in the Savior’s life is a little more important and more sacred than his birth. So the fact that Easter is less commercialized than Christmas is appealing.

But, this also means that it doesn’t have as much impact. Somehow the commercial message of Christmas is occasionally tinged with the religious message—”A Charlie Brown Christmas” contains a religious message, we place a star atop our christmas trees and feature nativity scenes in our homes and in public. From what I can see, it is rare to see anything related to Christ’s atonement and resurrection in the commercialization of Easter. Again, perhaps that is better in many ways—unless it means that the meaning of the holiday is lost on many of us.

So, like Christmas, we are faced with the struggle of how to emphasize the religious purpose of the holiday. This leads me back to my original question: how do you celebrate Easter?

I must admit that our family is a little weak when it comes to Easter. We don’t have family traditions to draw on, other than the commercial ones of coloring eggs and making Easter baskets (and even with that we’re rather lame, to be honest). We do have a few films that might work well for Easter: I like Ben Hur and think that the final scene is a powerful message about redemption, so I’ll likely watch it again. I also like The Last Temptation of Christ, the controversial Scorsese film, so I’ll likely watch that also. Any number of Church films might balance out these two, but I don’t own any that are specifically about the atonement and resurrection, so I’ll have to see what I can find at the media center at Church.

I also hope to read the accounts of the passion in the Bible and Book of Mormon, similar to how we read the story of the birth of Christ at Christmas. I’m sure I can find plenty of appropriate music in our collection for the season as well as events that celebrate the religious message of the season.

So, what would you suggest? How should we celebrate Easter?

22 comments for “How do you celebrate Easter?

  1. Adam Greenwood
    March 26, 2013 at 1:07 pm

    The semi-secular Christmas was a halfway house for the LDS to approach the religious Christmas tradition, but with Easter its difficult because you are having to invent an observance from the whole cloth. The occasional General Conference on Easter is very nice, but it isn’t a general solution. Consequently any tradition feels ersatz.

    We try to catch the Music and the Spoken Word broadcast on Easter morning and hold something like a family devotional/testimony meeting.

  2. Adam Greenwood
    March 26, 2013 at 1:11 pm

    Like you, we also borrow from our Christmas tradition of reading the nativity narrative and read one of the gospels on the crucifixion and resurrection.

  3. Cameron
    March 26, 2013 at 1:28 pm

    We started on Sunday by watching the Triumphal Entry Bible Video and reading about that. We will watch all videos that apply throughout the week and as they are made.

    We’re also reading a little of Eric Huntsman’s reflections each night this week and related scriptures:

    No Pagan stuff on Sunday. We’re only Pagan on Saturday.=)

  4. John Mansfield
    March 26, 2013 at 2:10 pm

    We share a resurrection meal of fish and honeycomb.

  5. DavidH
    March 26, 2013 at 3:46 pm

    Our children are now grown, but when they were younger my wife conferred with the Easter bunny and insisted that the bunny make his/her candy deliveries on Saturday morning, instead of Easter morning. Sunday we would sing hymns and read passages from scriptures about the resurrection. It was nice when Church was the same day, because the Sacrament meeting, without fail, celebrated the resurrection.

  6. March 26, 2013 at 4:08 pm

    I have a nice suggestion — let’s all go to church meetings, and then read in our scriptures about Jesus!

  7. Cameron
    March 26, 2013 at 4:08 pm

    @Julie – Seder Meals are amazing. We did one at a zone conference on my mission. It was amazing how many things tied into the Atonement and its blessings.

  8. March 26, 2013 at 5:08 pm

    Kristine’s posts at BCC have become something of a tradition over the last few years and I have decided to attend an Easter production from now on. My first, this year, was Bach’s St Matthew Passion. Next year I plan to his St John Passion somewhere as well.

  9. Olde Skool
    March 26, 2013 at 6:12 pm

    We spend all of Lent connecting with the long traditions of Christian observance. Our observance includes attending various services at the local Cathedral, eating symbolic meals throughout Holy Week based on particular readings in the Gospels (e.g., basil (the herb of kings) and hearts of palm on Palm Sunday), fasting on Good Friday and Holy Saturday, and taking on specific service projects related symbolically to the stations of the cross. Mormons are pretty bad at Easter, so supplementing helps to bring home the holiness of the season for us.

  10. sba
    March 26, 2013 at 9:59 pm

    Julie, any tips on a seder with Mormon kids? How elaborate do you make it?

  11. Jennie
    March 27, 2013 at 9:09 am

    If I am teaching Sunday School or RS that day or in the weeks ahead of Easter, I incorporate something about Easter into the lesson. If I’m not teaching, I mention Easter when the teacher asks for comments. I talk about Easter and the resurrection as much as I can. (I am disappointed that Easter and Christmas don’t have a place in the curriculum.)
    We are following Eric Huntsman’s daily study for Easter at
    We make paper palm leaves for Palm Sunday and sing Easter Hosanna (Primary songbook) with the kids.
    We went to a local community Messiah sing-along.
    Might go to a community sunrise service.
    Having extended family over for dinner. Sent Easter cards to missionaries from our ward. Might take a plate of strawberries etc. to friends and people I visit teach.

  12. lulubelle
    March 27, 2013 at 9:37 am

    Our ward was going to hold fast & testimony meeting on Easter Sunday until the Stake Pres said no. However, nothing special is planned for our Sacrament meeting, not even the choir singing. Therefore, I’m skipping it entirely and heading to a Presbyterian church for the day.

  13. Chadwick
    March 27, 2013 at 11:16 am

    I picked up on Julie’s resurrection eggs back in 2006 and we’ve done that every year since.

    I like the idea of a seder meal. I’ll have to look into that.

    Last night we started a new tradition of having an easter egg flashlight hunt at the park. We invited ward members and neighbors. It was our first year and we started small: only one family came from the stake (our ward friends who said they would come flaked out) and we had four other neighbor families come, some Christian, some not. In total we had 16 dozen eggs for seven kids to find. Next year I want to find a way to introduce a Christian message into the activity that would be appropriate for the setting. No clue how to do that, but I’ve got a year to figure it out.

  14. Julie M. Smith
    March 27, 2013 at 11:17 am

    sba, not really. We do keep it on the short side, but the idea of a meal with rituals is pretty much the perfect vehicle for engaging and teaching kids. If you google “haggadah,” you’ll find more scripts for a passover meal than you ever wanted.

  15. March 27, 2013 at 11:46 am

    Jim (7), I don’t know about you, but I do that every Sunday.

  16. Jennie
    March 27, 2013 at 9:33 pm

    Chadwick (14): I assume you’re using plastic eggs? How about a paper inside each with an uplifting message? I’d stick with something that all participants could agree on, about being kind to all, the value of service, brotherly love, etc.

  17. March 28, 2013 at 4:16 pm

    Kent, that is the beauty of it!

  18. Moss
    March 30, 2013 at 11:35 pm

    We’re probably going to attend church and have a sacrament meeting centered around missionary work or attending the temple more. Maybe tithing. The family. Scouting. Joseph Smith. It seems like ignoring Easter is almost a point of pride in our services (at least in my stake).

  19. Cameron N
    March 30, 2013 at 11:42 pm

    Moss, you should speak up. Pull a Jared/Jethro with some inspired suggestions!

  20. Moss
    March 31, 2013 at 3:22 pm

    Thanks, Cameron- I think I will.

  21. M Buxton
    April 1, 2013 at 9:46 am

    My wife and I attended the temple on Good Friday this year, and I am thinking about making it a yearly tradition. Although we Mormons eschew crosses in our meeting houses, the crucifixion plays a significant symbolic role in the temple–something I had not focused on that much before. I found it a very meaningful way to start the Easter weekend

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