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Your Guide to Celebrating 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) Perform acts of kindness by celebrating Easter through community service. The Food Bank of the Rockies has a simple campaign: For every social media Easter post that includes #CEPGiving, CEP will donate a dozen eggs, up to 25,000 dozen, to Feeding Colorado food banks. Or volunteer with your family at the Bannock Youth Center’s Easter celebration for at-risk youth on April 4, 2015. The Colfax Community Network, Metro CareRing 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.

bunny2) Swim and dine with the Easter Bunny? Get some Spring shopping done and have an Easter Bunny Breakfast on Friday, April 3 at the Outlets at Castle Rock. Kids will stay busy with crafts, activities and admission is free but a canned food donation is appreciated. The Downtown Aquarium will host Easter breakfast with the Easter Bunny on April 4, 2015 (reservations are required). On April 5, the Easter Brunch will feature delicious buffet items, Easter egg hunts and photos with the Easter bunny.

3) Get inspired at sunrise. Unique to Colorado, you can attend the Sunrise Easter Service at Red Rocks on Sunday, April 5, 2015. Gates open at 4:30 a.m. The non-denominational service is open to all and is a wonderful way to celebrate.

4) 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.

5) 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.)

Colorado's largest Easter egg hunt at Copper Mountain

Colorado’s largest Easter egg hunt at Copper Mountain

6) Take in spring with a family walk through a park, open space, Hudson Gardens (free admission year-round) or around the 3-acre Mordecai Children’s Garden at the Botanic Gardens.

7) Be quick like a bunny and run in the Bunny Bolt (5K or 10K) in City Park on April 4, 2015  The event includes an Easter Egg Hunt for the golden egg, along 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)

8) Hop along the bunny trail at the Children’s Museum. The Museum will host its annual “Bunny Trail EggVenture” on April 4 from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Young children will enjoy dying eggs and creating fun Easter-themed crafts. Also, all aboard the Bunny Express Train on April 4 at the Colorado Railroad Museum where the Easter Bunny and Spike the Railyard Hound will be on-hand with special spring treats. 

9) Head up to the mountains for Colorado’s largest Easter egg hunt. For those EGGstreme youngsters 7-11 years old, check out Copper Mountain’s Center Village Egg Hunt with 65,000 eggs on April 4 at 10 a.m. Don’t worry big kids, there will be few special “Copper Eggs” for you to find hidden on the mountain. And little bitty peeps have their very own hunt around Copper’s Climbing Wall at 11 a.m. Get a photo with the Easter Bunny at at West Lake in Center Village. They’ll have tons of EGGcellent prizes and a Noon Egg Decorating party with all of your leftover treasure. P.S. If your kids (ages 6-14) want a real adventure, sign them up  for the Kids Adventure Games Winter Edition on April 5 in Breckenridge.

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!

PeeKoo—Making life a bit easier in the morning (and receive a 35% discount!)

Spring is finally here! I know most moms are feeling the same way I am right about now: bring on the warm weather! I don’t think I have ever had such a serious case of spring fever in my life. However, with spring comes the spring ahead in time change and it is quite a challenge to get up in the morning. It will be dark much later than usual for a couple months to come and the adjustment is hard on both kids and moms.

I thought about what could I recommend to moms to help make things easier this spring? Then, a lovely product came across my desk, The Peekoo. It’s a combination duvet cover and zip-on top sheet made in Boulder, Colorado. The product was inspired by the European-style of bedding (sans the top sheet) and provides for a simple morning of bed-making. Kids pull up the comforter and adjoining top sheet, throw on the pillows and wahala—the bed is made. It’s perfect for anyone running late in the morning, especially during those dark spring mornings.

Your kids won’t be

Mother Nature and her semiannual day of balance

If you’re old enough to remember the old Elitch Gardens, you are old enough to sense that seasons seem to rush by more and more quickly with each passing year. In just 4 days, it will finally be Spring again. At 5:21 pm on March 20, the spring equinox* will be upon us, as we in the northern hemisphere will reach the halfway point in the ascent from winter to summer.

Trivia question of the day:  do you know the difference between a maze and a labyrinth? The best explanation I found is that “a maze is multicursal, or a series of paths with dead ends and can be quite frustrating. A labyrinth is unicursal, meaning it has only one path and no dead ends.”

Maybe you are now asking yourself: What do paths around the sun have to do with paths through a labyrinth? And why is Lori bringing them up now?

Because you might want to consider a meditative way to mark this special point of the earth’s path around the sun. Whenever possible I spend solstices and equinoxes* in a labyrinth on a walking meditation. Doing so allows me to feel the rhythm of Mother Earth and her place with Father Sky. Here is a diagram I carry in my head:

The wave represents energy itself (vibration and ripple are two other physics and metaphysical terms), and it reminds me of the significance of the parts of the cycle: the two extremes and the midpoints. You could superimpose the four weeks of a menstrual or moon cycle here as well.

March 20 marks the day the earth is at the in-between point. A time of subtle shift. A time to become fluid and open to the path ahead. A time of rebirth, of promise, of growing light.

As I walk the labyrinth, I feel a few moments of connection and peace. I offer gratitude for the early signs of return to life, and I offer condolences to freaks of nature people like Amber, who mourn the passing of winter.

A deliberate and mindful walk into and out of the labyrinth can take 20-30 minutes, and doing it on a celestially meaningful day seems to supercharge any intentions I have during the walk.

So even if you can’t walk the old Elitch labyrinth with me that day, do try to take a moment to notice the shift and contemplate this day of balance for Mother Earth, Mother Nature, and mothers everywhere.

* Cheers to our readers in the southern hemisphere who will greet their vernal equinox that day.

Images: © WriteMindOpenHeart.com. May be used with attribution and linkage.