sprouting plant face of jesus and crucifix

How to Celebrate Easter at Home

Fr. Joel Being Catholic Leave a Comment

Easter Sunday, many people in our community will realize for the first time that churches are closed. Instead of a church service and a big family party, people will have to settle for live-streamed services at home. Fear not! A little planning and Easter at home can be your most memorable Easter ever. And the planning begins, appropriately, with the Last Supper. We have assembled a great variety of items for you to consider. Go through the list and just pick a few that interest you.

The celebration of Easter is just the final act of three days of celebrations called Triduum. These days are the high point of the liturgical year. If we believe that the Risen Jesus is here with us, then we can find him also in our homes. Here are some suggestions for how you can walk these holy days as a family or individual and experience the Risen Jesus in a fresh and personal way. Much like a trilogy of movies, you can’t fully appreciate the final act if you haven’t participated in the first two. But scroll to the end of the post if you just want to see Easter ideas.

Holy Week

Holy Week has been held in great reverence since the very early years of Christianity. As Jesus’ friends and followers we join him on the road to the cross. We begin from the triumphal entry of Palm Sunday, experience the intimacy of the Last Supper with his closest friends, share in his sufferings on the Cross, the quiet waiting of the tomb, and the new life of the Resurrection. The Church sees in these days an analogy to the life of every Christian. Jesus walks with us in intimate personal moments, our own passion and death, and our resurrection. If we walk with Jesus now, he will walk with us into Eternity.

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday of Holy Week see the post on Palm Sunday.

Holy Thursday

  • Scripture for the Day: John 13:1-15 (washing of the feet) or Matthew 26:14-56
  • Ways to celebrate the day:
    • Sometime during the day plan to reach out and help someone in need. Perhaps elderly folks in your neighborhood could use someone to grocery shop for them, or to clean up your hard.
    • Husbands, wash your wife’s feet. Then together wash your children’s feet.
    • Hold a Seder Meal together as a family (see CatholicCulture.org
    • After the Mass of the Lord’s supper, the Eucharist is processed to a symbolic ‘garden’ where we spend time in prayer with Jesus, like joining him in the Garden of Gethsemane. Make your own “prayer garden” with potted plants and a crucifix. Spend some time in prayer that evening as a family or individually.
  • Talk about it: The Eucharist is the central sacrament in our Catholic faith. Jesus “invented” the Eucharist at the Last Supper when the bread became his Body and the wine became his Blood. What does it mean to eat and drink Jesus? Why would Jesus do that? How does this encounter with Jesus change us? 
  • Craft projects:
    • Show your children the famous Last Supper by Leonardo Da Vinci. Have them draw their own version.

Good Friday

  • Scripture for the Day: John 18:1-19:42
  • Ways to celebrate the day:
    • Fast (only 1 full meal, two mini-meals, no snacks) and abstain from meat.
    • Set aside some quiet time between 12 noon and 3 p.m. (the hours Jesus spent on the cross). Turn off electronics, sit in the silence, pray. Observe these three hours, remembering the sacrifice Jesus made for you.
    • Encourage family members to imitate Jesus by forgiving someone who has hurt them.
    • Do the Stations of the Cross as a family or pray the sorrowful Mysteries
    • Take down the crucifix you prayed with on Holy Thursday and offer each family member a chance to venerate (kiss) the cross and to pray with it by themselves.
    • Watch Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ (not suitable for young children). Or watch any of the Formed.org videos on Good Friday (type ‘Good Friday’ in the search box to get a multitude of options).
  • Talk about it: It is OK to feel sad on Good Friday.  Jesus’ death on the cross is a sacrifice like no other; he died to teach us about everlasting life.  Talk about friends and family who may have died and how we believe that, because of Jesus, we hope to rise to new life in heaven.
  • Craft projects:
    • Make a cross out of paper, wood, sticks from the yard, or a collage of items that talk to you about Jesus’ death.
    • Or take a paper cross and write the words of John 3:16; substitute your own name for “the world.” You could also make a fingerprint heart with red ink.

Holy Saturday

  • Scripture for the Day: John 1:1-5 or Philippians 2:1-11
    This is a day of quiet anticipation of the Resurrection. Traditionally some kind of fasting continues until the Easter Vigil is celebrated once the sun has gone down (after 8:15 PM in the Central Daylight Timezone). Then the Easter fire is lit to symbolize the Light of Christ that shines in our hearts.
  • Ways to celebrate the day:
    • Have a candle lit at home (safely) awaiting the Resurrection
    • Decorate your prayer space for Easter with flowers, eggs, rabbits, chicks, whatever says Easter to you. You can look online for “coloring pages Easter”.
    • Gather the family around a bonfire in the backyard. Each person takes turns sharing about a dark moment in their life and how Jesus gave them light. Or take turns answering the question: How do I know that Jesus is real, and that he rose from the dead?
  • Talk about it: The Easter Vigil begins with the symbol of fire.  Talk about how fire represents that Jesus is the light of the world.  He brings light to the darkness and new life to a sleeping world. What are some other symbols of resurrection? (Easter water, the color white, the transformation of a butterfly, the sunrise, spring coming after winter…) How many can you think of?
  • Craft projects:
    • Dye eggs. Paint eggs. Color eggs with food-safe crayons.
    • Make a small paper bag Easter baskets to bring to the neighbors tomorrow.
    • Make homemade Easter cards for family and friends that you won’t be able to see in person tomorrow.
    • Bake an Easter Lamb Cake for your family meal tomorrow.

Easter Sunday

  • Scripture for the Day: Matthew 28:1-20
  • Ways to celebrate the day:
    • Rise early and watch the sunrise.
    • Start the day with praise music, fill your house with the sound of praise to Jesus. Make a list of songs that have Alleluia in them or ask Alexa to play Easter hymns.
    • Dress up in your finest Easter clothes. Watch Mass together on TV or you local parish livestream. Take a family picture together.
    • Bless everyone with Holy Water if you have it.
    • Phone family for a group video chat, FaceTime/Skype/Zoom, or phone call.
    • Sit down together for a nice family meal.
    • Play family games.
    • Have an Easter egg hunt at home inside or out.
    • Take an afternoon nap. Do nothing for a while.
    • Watch Heaven is for Real, Miracles from Heaven, or another movie about a near-death experience.
    • Pray the Glorious mysteries of the Rosary as a family.
    • Go for a walk and look for tulips or daffodils or other signs of new life. Count how many song-birds you see.
  • Talk about it: Easter is a foreshadowing of heaven. What will heaven be like? (we get some clues in Revelation chapters 21 and 22). Have a family conversation about what it would mean to be in heaven.
  • Crafts: Print a coloring page of the word Alleluia and color it. Hang it in your window.
    • Make an Easter diorama with the empty tomb and the crosses on the hill above.
    • Paint a rock for the rolled-away stone.
    • Write Alleluia or Christ is Risen on chalk in your driveway or decorate a window in your house with an Easter scene.
    • Plant grass seed in a coffee cup of flower pot and watch it grow.
    • Make a bird feeder.

Do you have ideas of your own? Leave a comment below and add to the list.

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