A couple years ago, a fellow mixed-marriage-mom from my Great Beginnings class and I decided to start a little kids meal tradition called “Eastover.” We mixed Passover and Easter traditions and had a lot of fun doing it. This year, given that Passover begins Friday, April 6 and Easter is Sunday April 8, the weekend truly will be Eastover for many of us Jewish-Christian interfaith families.
I’m the product of a mixed marriage as well, and grew up celebrating Eastover; it seemed like a wonderful way to welcome Spring. In our fairly secular family, we try to celebrate the rituals and messages of each holiday. This means we focus on celebrations and meals together. We try to talk about new beginnings and the wonder of the seasons.
In our house, Eastover looks like this:
Passover Seder is really fun for little kids, because you can act out the Ten Plagues to great effect. Just think about it. We have a children’s Haggadah, a very abbreviated Seder, and will hide afikomen for the first time for the 3 year olds this year: the game “hot and cold” is very popular so I think searching for hidden Matzoh will be a hit.
Passover food is delicious, and toddler-friendly. We’ll make Brisket sweet noodle kugel, and a savory potato kugel. Matzoh with peanut butter is a favorite snack. I must admit to sneaking in things that might be considered chametz, or leavened food items, during Passover week. In my experience, almost every Jewish family defines chametz differently. In the Talmud, chametz is defined as five grains: wheat, spelt, barley, oats and rye. Only matzoh is allowed, although many eat legumes nowadays. We are not kosher and therefore do not take the rules into account (but if you do, I found an excellent menu at Cooking Light).
For the Easter part of our holiday, we focus less on food and more on rebirth. We do classic egg dying with toddlers, to talk about many new births this Spring. Cracking the eggs and then eating them is a huge part of the fun. We also attend some workshops at Drumlin Farm to see the new lambs and baby goats, and watch the plants sprouting. This is also super fun for little boys because you can dig up a ton of dirt.
What are your favorite homegrown Easter, Passover or “Eastover” traditions?