Every holiday holds a time for family, worship, and fellowship (and food). Easter is no different. We come together to celebrate and worship and have a little fun. Yet for adoptive families, especially those who have adopted internationally, unique questions, decisions, and preparation go into these treasured holiday celebrations. When it comes to Easter, do you include the traditions from their home country? Should you make new traditions or keep the old ones? What if their home country didn’t celebrate Easter?
As we recognized at Christmas, when internationally adopting, your child might be accustomed to different traditions. For American Christians, a church service celebrating Christ followed by an Easter egg hunt is the tradition held by most families. In Russia, Christians greet people with three kisses on the cheek (for the three days Christ was in the tomb) while exclaiming “Christ arise”. In Poland, families mold cakes and sometimes butter into the shape of a lamb. Bunnies and eggs aren’t the international norm. In fact, Australia has an Easter bilby, an endangered marsupial, instead of an Easter bunny. Some countries do not recognize it as a holiday at all.
Balance is required for adoptive families during the holidays. Consider incorporating one of your children’s most beloved traditions from their home country if they want to do so. For instance, if your children were born in Poland, try making a lamb cake to add to the dessert table at your family gathering. If your child comes from a hard past, it may be easier for them not to be reminded of that past especially during holidays. So don’t force this issue if they are really struggling to move forward.
Think about what you want your children to know about Easter. Consider making “resurrection rolls” to tell the story of Christ’s resurrection. Try to remember what you loved most about Easter as a child and include some of those activities into their holiday. Beloved Easter traditions, like decorating eggs, worshiping on Easter Sunday morning, and fellowshipping with family in the afternoon may be new and welcomed experiences for children from other countries.
Lastly, be sure to create some new traditions that are special to your family as it is now. Try making a special dessert for the family gathering after church. You could even bake cookies or sweets to pass out after the church service. Decorating Easter baskets together is another great tradition to start as a family.
Strive for a balance of the new, the old, and the familiar for a less stressful holiday.
What are some of your favorite Easter traditions? Does your family make special food to celebrate the special day? Share your traditions with us! Happy Easter!