How does your family celebrate Easter without religion?

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Photo by JoshBerglund19, used under Creative Commons license.
Both my partner’s family and my family are Christian — but neither of us self-identify as such. We still want to honor our backgrounds and family traditions… but don’t want to involve religion.

We have an almost two-year-old son who we’ll be sharing the holiday with, so I’m interested in hearing what other families have done to celebrate with two-year-olds AND with older kids. — Jen

How are you celebrating your offbeat Easter this year — glittery eggs? Lemon bread for the Spring Equinox? Tell us tell us!

Comments on How does your family celebrate Easter without religion?

  1. I grew up going to sunday School (church for littlies) but am not a religious person now. My partner and I are letting our kids decide for themselves if they want to explore spirituality later on. We have a 5 year old and we’ve always done the cultural things that coincide/piggy back with christian holidays like Easter egg hunts, but I must say Weve not ever felt the need to sit down and explain the religious background to her at such a young age. She will get exposed to all that at some point, and we are happy to talk about it with her when she is curious or wants to explore it. And if she decided she wanted to be part of a particular faith we would respect that and try to incorporate the church into the festivities for her sake. But for now the religious part hasn’t held any great importance to us.. What is important to us letting her be a little kid and for us that means sharing the yearly cultural festivities her friends, family and peers enjoy.

    • I feel like a good way to do so when they are a bit older is veggie tales. And explain some people believe in this. My bf and I while not religious both admitted to enjoying veggie tales so if we were to have a kid our mutual consensus would be to expose them to what other people believe in if they are interested. Plus silly songs with Larry is amusing.

  2. I am an atheist, and my parents raised me and my sisters united christians (or at least attempted to). And I celebrate Easter as just a welcoming of Spring.

    I think common “christian” holidays can be celebrated very easily by the secular population (heck just go witness my husband’s family during the holidays). Mainly because they are very commercialized, and have little to do with whatever their original meaning was.

    Easter in my house growing up:
    – put up a pussywillow branches as a mock tree and hung wooden Easter egg ornaments on them
    – hid chocolate around the house and colourful baskets filled with chocolate and Spring-related treats
    – coloured hardboiled eggs and then had an egg smashing contest at dinner (smack ends of eggs with someone else. Whoever’s egg remains unsmashed at the end gets bragging rights)
    – eat a big ol’ ham.

    Honestly, these types of holidays are just an excuse to get together with family, and eat and drink.

  3. Honestly, most of what kids like about Easter is the non religious / pagan leftovers suff. I was raised in an Evagelical household but most of my happy Easter memories revolve around chocolate, bunnies, flowers, and egg hunts. I recall my mom trying to give a Christian spin to these things but it didn’t sink in enough for me remember the exact explainions. As an agnostic parent we celebrate the return of Spring with Easter and my child will learn about how it is an important day for Christians. But, my child will have to choose for himself if it will be a religious or secular holiday for him.

  4. I grew up in Saudi Arabia, which is a Muslim country. Customs officials wouldn’t allow any “Christian” items like Christmas tree decorations or plastic Easter eggs into the country. One year we did our egg hunt with real hard boiled eggs and didn’t find them all…until about 3 months later when the smell gave them away!

  5. We do the same things every family does except go to church. We do easter baskets and egg hunts in the yard. My extended family goes to church and then we meet up to have dinner afterwards. I guess I feel like Easter is just a way we welcome spring.

  6. i think we’ll stress the cultural happenings of passover, easter, and spring as a total package. but mostly, we’ll just celebrate brunch, which is practically a religion for me anyway. 😛

  7. Hubby was raised catholic, I was raised non-denominational christian. We’ve both been areligious/atheist for over a decade at this point, after spending the better part of the decade prior to THAT seriously questioning our personal relationship to god(s).

    So in our house, Easter is pretty similar to Xmas.
    Easter Bunny has a similar magic as Santa has, that lets him know the things J hopes to get in his basket, and that also offers a handy explanation for how the basket gets filled—Bunny Magic.
    We decorate eggs a day or two beforehand, but the BASKET is the important part to leave out. This came of the year, I think 2 years ago, where we didn’t decorate eggs because J had already brought home several dozen decorated eggs from Grandm’s house, and I didn’t want to have even MORE colorful eggs in my fridge. So The Bunny can only leave gifts if there’s a basket left out! If there is an appropriate basket (with Easter grass) then some candy/toys are put in the basket, and plastic eggs filled with candy and/or small toys are hidden throughout the living room.
    My son is 6, so as he gets older the hunt will likely become more difficult, but so far he’s been happy with just a half-dozen eggs to find.
    We also use the day as an excuse/reason to get together with extended family, that we don’t see often anymore due to busy schedules and all of us living in separate towns.

    Thus far, we’ve managed to avoid many religious themes around Easter/Xmas. One year we attended a Christmas service because our family had been “adopted” by that church as a charity thing through my university’s student-parent resource office. Out of respect for the church, J and I sat through the service before scampering off with our gifts. Because of that event and some things that various family members have said in passing, which he’s then asked me about later, my son knows that some people believe other things than we do but is content with that level of depth for his knowledge. When he asks more specific questions, he’ll get more detailed answers. Until then, I’m content to keep our distance from the whole thing, and just celebrate our secular versions of majority-religious holidays.

  8. British person here! Whilst Easter is still hugely commercial here we don’t seem to make quite as much *secular* fuss over it as Americans. It’s only really important at all if you’re religious; for non-Christians it’s a lovely long weekend but a bit annoying that the shops are mostly shut. The day is about being with family, having a roast dinner, and if you’re religious, making a simnel cake (the fruit cake with the marzipan twelve apostles), and celebrating your beliefs. My parents had a half-hearted relationship with church when I was younger so I always knew and accepted the story of Jesus’ resurrection, but mostly, we were each bought a chocolate Easter egg and that was that. Now as an adult I’m not a Christian, and my personal choice of spring celebration would be the vernal equinox, so Easter is just a day off with more chocolate than usual. That’s not in any way meant to sound disrespectful to those who do celebrate, as I know Christians get a lot of joy out of Easter and I really respect that!

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