How to Explain Easter To A Toddler

This will be the fourth Easter I’ve spent with my three and a half year old son – the first one passed him by unnoticed; the second one he noticed but unquestionably went with the flow, trailing round after his cousins in my inaugural Easter Egg hunt. And then last year happened…his third Easter…everything had more meaning in his life, he needed to make associations with this holiday and inevitably there were questions…well one question in particular, ‘what is Easter Mummy?’.

Um.

I launched in without thinking – perhaps a bit too much too soon – with a glorious monologue of death, symbolic rebirth, Spring, bunnies and chocolate. Chocolate got his attention but I didn’t think that was quite satisfactory. And so I got thinking, how on earth do people explain this Pagan-Christian muddly mashup of a festival that moves with the moon to a toddler?

The Christian Approach

Remember Christmas darling? No – not the presents, no – not the tree, no – not Father Christmas. Ok stop. Remember in Lucy & Tom they build a nativity scene and there’s a baby? (Take silence for a yes).

Well, Christmas is about celebrating the birth of that baby and Easter is when he’s all grown up and gets horribly betrayed then brutally murdered… (see the audience wavering)…um but then he comes to life again! Hurray! So we celebrate and eat chocolate. Yes chocolate! (Phew, back on safe ground. Retelling of religious stories is perhaps not my strong point.)

The Pagan Approach

Easter is about celebrating the arrival of the sun…no not son like you, sun like the one in the sky. The resurrection of the son is same time, different story. (Ha, laugh at your unstoppable wit, note the glazed look, move on).

Um, ok you know winter? Well, yes but there is actually more to winter than Christmas. It’s been really cold hasn’t it? No, ok I suppose it hasn’t been that cold. Well there are no leaves on the trees in the garden are there? (Phew, good save) Well Easter marks the arrival of Spring and soon there will be lots of leaves on the trees and lots of sunshine and…yes, I suppose there might be lots of ice cream…ok and yes lots of cricket too. (Weird. Losing track, must refocus).

Let’s think about renewal and new life – do you know that many animals have babies in the spring such as lambs and birds… (wrack brain for the traditional cast of Easter)…and chickens and rabbits. No, not like Mummy. The baby inside Mummy won’t be here for ages…Yes I know you want to Hoover the baby up but we don’t Hoover people up do we? (Worry about that another time). And so we celebrate ALL this (yes I know I’ve missed A LOT of pagan roots but I don’t even know how to pronounce Eostre let alone how to explain a Hare-loving goddess to my son) with…CHOCOLATE!

The Commercial Approach

Easter is mostly about chocolate. (Sigh, but you know desperate times.) Yes, chocolate! I know, it sounds good doesn’t it. No you can’t have chocolate now. People also have Egg Hunts and there’s an Easter Bunny and some people make bonnets. A bonnet is a hat. No not like your Bob the Builder hat. (Realise you know nothing about the significance of Easter bonnets or indeed what they are supposed to look like). Ok, I suppose your Bob hat could make a nice Easter hat, yes why not. No you can’t have chocolate now. Soon but not now.
No I’m afraid not, no darling.
Where are you going?
Get your head out of the treat cupboard…I said NOT NOW!

I’m hoping we don’t have a rerun of that conversation this year…we made Easter cakes today – my son wished both my husband and me ‘Happy Birthday!’ and declared that it was party time.

I give up.

Happy Easter everyone.

This post was first published here. For more from Occupation (m)other click here, or check out some of the recent posts below!

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