My childhood Easter memories are sitting by the window and waiting to catch a glimpse on the Easter bunny passing by. The only proof of him were randomly spread chocolate eggs that must have fallen off his backpack hustling by the house.
Perhaps it is due to pictures, but I remember Easter egg hunts with my cousins, long walks in the forrests, where here and there we found eggs (they fell out of my uncles pockets but as a kid you wouldn’t notice). I surely won´t remember the main course of the Easter feast but I remember all the different chocolate flavoured eggs.
30 odd years and 2 third culture kids later, one thinks of what traditions, values and memories do I want to give my kids to grow up with?
If they look back what should they remember of Easter holidays?
Personally, I am not a fan of collecting eggs in a shopping mall, it’s too commercial, but I totally understand that not everyone has the means of time, interest or a big backyard for outdoor fun. Or like my husband,who has no relation at all to religous holidays. He simply can´t relate to my childhood memories. I think I married the Grinch. I perceived Easter as fun and such I wish for my kids to have. My kids don’t even have cousins yet and direct family is far away.
What to do when you are expat?
Well, as an expatfamily our friends are the closest family, we usually spend the holidays with each other. The kids are similar age and it ensures loads of noise around the house. Surely, no boredom here. And even before the kids, yes there was a life before them, we always had friends around.
We are, what I call mixed breeds,all third culture kids with multinational parents, there is plenty of cross-cultural influence around our holidays.
At times we can´t even agree on what our lunchtime is supposed to be, my Italian friends you know who you are, lunch is at noon!
So we decided to share every Thursday before Easter the traditional egg painting activity. You`ll be surprised how hard it can get to find white eggs.
And just for the fun of it, ask people why they think the egg is white??? We had very hilarious discussion about it. It’s a running gag that every year I buy the eggs at same place and every year the sales rep lectures me about the magic of the white egg.
For those that really don’t know, a white henn lays white eggs, a brown one, brown eggs. There is no sourcery involved.
Here a few basic tips without the classic German egg paint equipment:
-We paint hardboiled white eggs with food dye, you can even print out a colouring chart. The kids love playing with colours, total homeschool science experiment. -Be aware it will get messy. Do it outside if you can. -We have a secret pencil (wax) that we paint patterns on that become visible once eggs is dyed put rubber bands around egg to create patterns -Decorate them with stickers, the eggs not the kids -Kids just love mixing their own colours -If available we buy kits last year we had monster eggs #mumofboys lol -As we usually have different age groups I additionally print Easter themed printables on paper - For the oldest ones we blow out the inner of the eggs that serves for plenty scrambled eggs for lunch and we only pay the egg shell to then decorate a tree.
My kids rarely understand between yesterday, today and tomorrow but they surely know the order of their holidays ranging from fireworks to Easter, birthday, then Halloween and Christmas. That they know with accuracy. They know we first paint the egg and then comes Easter Sunday and we go on egg hunt. As friends are our local family we do the Easter Brunch at our place, every year. It feels somewhat more home than a hotel. I love sharing this feeling. Many of our friends travel to their home countries or beaches for the Easter break. As we stay behind in the city, the planning goes along with some anxiety. What if we are alone this holiday?!
What if no one is around or now one shows up on that day?
The kids probably won`t care. As long as we parents are present hey will never feel alone.
It is usually the parental thrive for perfection that sets us under tremendous pressure. Us, parents, wanting the best experience possible for our kids. Us, fighting the guilt of not having immediate family around. The fear of missing out, the fear of not being enough and the fear of being alone... Sitting alone for the holidays would mean defeat, an empty table would manifest failure of the expat-adventure.
Even more so reason enough to invite others to take away their fear and their loneliness. We usually have a mix of nationalities, always joking, that our table represents the united nations. Each one brings a dish representing their traditions during the particular holiday.
The kids hunt eggs. But instead of chocolate eggs that don’t do well in the tropical heat we have plastic eggs filled with lollies, or little things such as puzzle pieces. The great thing each kid gets its own colour and each one has same amount of eggs so the little ones have the same chances as the older ones. And each kid gets a little nest that we set out the night before in the hope the rabbit will drop a little gift. But seriously, something small!!!
So I hope the kids will remember chasing eggs, running around with their friends and having a good time!! While we friends don’t need to drink to be able to stand each others company, because friends are the family we chose. It’s a dry holiday anyways!