My home, at the moment, is filled with the scent of lilies and the remembrance of Easter past in my childhood, where coloring eggs and Easter displays on the dining room table invited us all to celebrate this special religious day and its traditions.
My Religious Easter Lesson
In my culture class, I teach both the religious significance of this day and also the customs that are attached to it.
For the religious lesson, I cover the significance of symbols such as the cross, the Lily, and the palm branch. I explain the meaning of crucifying, the death and rebirth of Jesus (whom Christians believe is the son of God) and why Christians celebrate Good Friday and Easter Sunday.
The best part is being able to give each student an Easter seal with different colors of lilies on each sticker. Those of you who sent all those Easter seal sheets those years ago, and I still remember there were at least 30 of them, I am still using them today. I’m sure I have given out over 2,000 to all the students I’ve taught over the years. In the past, they used to excitedly put them into their textbooks. Now, they adorn their cell phones.
Wherever they put them, it is a wonderful remembrance of our religious class together. Whether that lesson of Easter sticks or not, I know the Easter seals certainly do!
And, of course, there’s the real lily in a plastic bottle vase, with a small palm branch as well, which I bring to class as a visual aid.
“This poor lily!” I say as the lesson ends, with just a few minutes left before the bell rings. “She doesn’t have a home. Who will get our lovely Easter lily to take to the dorm room?”
We have a name draw at the end to see who is the lucky one. The screams of excitement and joy from the winner as she (never did have a boy who won) comes bounding up to claim the prize makes that Easter lesson all the more precious.
The Traditions of Easter
Yes, we do it all!
There’s the jelly bean contest to start off with: “How many jelly beans in the bottle? Make a guess!”
All guesses must be different so there can be no two winners.
After everyone has written down their guess, the envelope is opened to reveal the number. The one closest to the number without going over is the winner.
The Easter Egg Hunt
I use colored paper eggs for my Easter egg hunt, with each egg found exchanged for a prize. The best prize of all? The one, single gold (yellow) egg which is worth a 50 yuan note (about $9). I model this after my hometown’s Easter egg hunt sponsored by the city. The gold egg prize there is $50, not $8. Still, 50 yuan in China is comparable to about $25 US so no shabby reward to get that gold egg in my classroom!
This year, I had 4 freshmen classes who each had their own hunt during our culture lesson. Many, many thanks to all my friends who often send small donations my way so I can hold special events such as this. Those four 50 yuan winners certainly appreciated that!
And, of course, what Easter tradition can never be excluded? Coloring eggs!
While this was not possible in the classroom, I did set up my coloring station in the English Center on Monday evening, from 7 – 9 p.m. Sad to say, many of the students had classes that evening and couldn’t come but the small turn-out of children and their parents (teachers on our campus) made the night a fun one, anyway.
As you can see, Easter in Connie’s classroom is always fun.
As for Connie the Christian: The church choir has been hard at work for 2 months with our Easter anthems: The Resurrection Song (a traditional Chinese melody with Christian words) and May Jesus Give you Peace, a new anthem composed by a Chinese Christian. I feel very blessed to be a part of my choir and Chinese church community and will post pictures of our Easter celebrations after our services tomorrow.
Until then, blessings to all! Happy Easter and Happy Spring!