While most people in Japan picnicked under cherry trees or went about their usual spring break activities this weekend, our family celebrated the little known holiday of Easter by dying eggs, participating in our little house church, and making resurrection rolls. And of course we had to trek around a park looking for blooming cherry trees too!
Our Easter celebrations started on Saturday when our friends Mio, Kazushi, and Yushi came over to play and dye Easter eggs. Mio read the Easter story to the kids from the Japanese children’s Bible and I explained that, though there actually aren’t any Easter eggs in the Bible, some say that the eggs represent the grave and new life. I told them that while we decorated we could remember how Jesus broke free from the grave and rose from the dead so that we can have new life. I had a few Easter egg dying kits that friends sent us from the States last year and I have to say I was impressed by all the bells and whistles that are part of these kits nowadays! I feel like a grandma saying this, but when I was a youngster there were dye tablets and there were those little wire egg holder thingys that (let’s face it) don’t really work very well to hold the eggs. That was it. Though they haven’t improved the egg holder thingys, boy have they added some amazing extras! There was paint to put designs on the eggs, a “magic crayon”, rubber bands that prevent the egg from being dyed where the band is so you can add stripes, plastic “belts” for the eggs that shrink to fit tightly to them when you add heat from a hair dryer, stickers, glitter, beads and more! The kids had a fantastic time decorating their eggs and it was especially fun to be able to do the activity with our friend Kazushi who had never done this before.
On Sunday we celebrated Easter with friends at our house church, International Bible Fellowship (IBF). After the worship time, the parents went outside to the yard and hid around 50 plastic Easter eggs filled with candy. The kids were, of course, chomping at the bit to get out there and find those eggs so they had a hard time waiting until all the hiding was done. But, they somehow hung in there and survived to have a super fun time scouting for eggs and showing off their winnings.
Later, after a relaxed lunch at IBF, we headed to the park with a few friends to view the cherry trees that were in full bloom. Unfortunately, it was overcast and freezing cold outside, but that didn’t stop the kids from thoroughly enjoying tromping around the park, chasing and feeding pigeons, and adventuring among the trees. And, to please the adults, we of course had to take a few photos to prove that we did actually see some cherry trees together.
Sunday evening, we finished up our day by making resurrection rolls together and watching a movie. To make the resurrection rolls we used this recipe. To make them you dip marshmallows in melted butter and then roll them in cinnamon and sugar. This symbolizes Jesus’ body being annointed in oil and spices. Each marshmallow is then placed on top of a flat circle of bread dough and the dough is wrapped around the marshmallow to make a ball shape. The dough represents Jesus’ grave. When you bake the rolls, the heat melts the marshmallows and the first bite reveals that the grave is empty and Jesus has risen. This is such a fun (and delicious) way for our family to remember the true meaning of Easter. It’s always a big hit! This year our friend E-chan joined in on the fun, which made it extra special.
We ran out of time yesterday to use our resurrection eggs kit to review the Easter story from the Bible, but since it’s still technically Easter in America we figure we have an extra day to finish up our family’s festivities. That’s one of the benefits of living in another time zone!