10 Memorable Ways to Celebrate Easter and Spring in Denver
When I was growing up, Easter meant that the crocuses were in bloom and we were going to look for a new dress to wear to mass and brunch on Easter Sunday. What I looked forward to the most, however, was the scavenger hunt my father put on for us, with challenging clues we had to answer to move on to our next treasure.
And the fact that spring had arrived.
In the Christian faith, all over the world, Easter is a celebration of the resurrection of Christ. This celebration merged with pagan beliefs in 15th century Germany. The Teutonic deity Eostra was the goddess of spring and fertility, and feasts were held in her honor on the Vernal Equinox. Her symbol was the rabbit because of the animal’s high reproduction rate. When German immigrants settled in the United States, they brought with them their Easter holiday traditions, which included the pagan rabbit hiding eggs in the garden.
In Denver, there are many fun ways to celebrate this important religious holiday with your family, whether to honor Christ, the pagan Eostra or merely, the coming of spring. Here are our top ten ideas:
1) Swim with the fish and the Easter Bunny? The Downtown Aquarium will host Easter breakfast with the Easter Bunny on Saturday, March 30, 8:30-11:00 a.m. Breakfast is $16.99 for adults and $10.99 for children 4 to 10 years old. Reservations highly recommended. (http://www.aquariumrestaurants.com/downtownaquariumdenver/default.asp).
2) Get inspired at sunrise. Unique to Colorado, you can attend the Sunrise Easter Service at Red Rocks on March 31 at 6:00 a.m. Gates open at 4:30 a.m. The non-denominational service is open to all and is a wonderful way to celebrate. Then take your hungry family to brunch. Many of Denver’s restaurants offer delicious Easter brunches, some with visits from the Easter Bunny, so check with your favorites to make a reservation. Follow with a nap.
3) Every holiday is an excuse to read with your children. Great books for Easter include: E. Aster Bunnymund and the Warrior Eggs at the Earth’s Core by William Joyce (chapter book), Rechenka’s Eggs by Patricia Polacco, The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams, My First Easter by Tomie dePaola (for the youngest in the family) and Petook: An Easter Story by Caryll Houselander.
4) Throw a Cascarones Party. After a visit to Houston, our family now celebrates an Easter tradition celebrated there and adopted from Mexico. Cascarones are colorful, hollowed-out eggs filled with confetti. To celebrate Easter, friends throw the eggs or crush them over each other’s heads, showering each other with confetti. Having a cascaron broken over your head is supposed to bring you good luck. Be warned, while this is a huge hit with the kids, you will be picking up eggshells and confetti in your yard for the rest of the year. (You can purchase them online or turn it into a craft project.)
5) Take in spring with a family walk through a park, open space or around the Mordecai Children’s Garden at the Botanic Gardens (http://www.botanicgardens.org/our-gardens/mordecai-childrens-garden).
6) Be quick like a bunny and run in the Quick Like a Bunny Run (5K or 10K) in City Park on March 23 at 9:30 a.m. The event will help raise awareness about the work of the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless. The event includes an Easter Egg Hunt with more eggs hidden along the race route, as well as face-painting, balloons, the Easter Bunny, and prizes. (http://www.runningguru.com/EventInformation.asp?eID=4755)
7) Perform acts of kindness by celebrating Easter through community service. The Colfax Community Network (http://www.colfaxcommunitynetwork.org), Metro CareRing (http://www.metrocarering.org) and others are always looking for food, toiletries, clothing and more. Check out their websites and make a plan with your family. You may want to clean out your closets for spring or call to see if they will accept Easter baskets for the children who come through their doors.
Hop along the bunny trail at the Children’s Museum. The Museum will host its annual “Bunny Trail EggVenture” on March 30 from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Young children will enjoy dying eggs and creating fun Easter-themed crafts. Admission is $7-9. (http://mychildsmuseum.org/events/bunny-trail-eggventure.aspx)
9) Head up to the mountains. You can hop, skip and jump from one resort to the next throughout the Easter weekend for Easter egg hunts, parades and more. On March 30, Beaver Creek hosts its annual egg hunt, followed by a parade and family carnival starting at 4:00. On March 31, Copper Mountain hosts one of the largest Easter egg hunts in Colorado with 50,000 eggs scattered throughout the village. The hunt kicks off at 10:00 a.m., and will be followed by a noon-time egg decorating party.
10) Decorate a flowerpot and then plant vegetable or flower seeds. A spring does not go by in our house without at least one attempt (many failed) at growing grass, pumpkins, or flowers in a paper cup. It is fun to watch the kids peek at them every morning to see if anything has sprouted.
And, of course, there are a number of Easter egg hunts so be sure to go here for a comprehensive list.
Happy Easter! Happy Spring!