Source: Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America
In just a few days, Holy Week begins. It is a wonderful, special week for Orthodox Christians. It is also filled with long services that can be challenging to anyone, but especially to young children. Here we offer a few suggestions that may help to make Holy Week more meaningful for our children and godchildren.
Preparation begins with adults understanding the services (Holy Week: An Introduction) so that we can talk about them in words children will understand. With them, you can do some of the arts and crafts listed below. Please do not let these many suggestions discourage you, especially if you do not have the energy to add “one more thing!” You know your family, and what each member needs the most. So, live and do accordingly!
Above all, let us prepare to love our Lord and each other throughout Holy Week. When Holy Week arrives, may we live it together, in awe of our Lord Jesus Christ’s compassion and mercy, and in gratitude for His great blessings to us.
Resources that can help you learn more about Holy Week:
- Encouragement and ideas for Holy Week from an Orthodox mama
- A study guide to the week’s services: each service’s overview paragraph refers to a particular passage of Scripture to support your journey through Holy Week
- Suggested highlights for you and your children to look for in each Holy Week service
- Activities and other ways to help your children learn about, celebrate, and participate in Holy Week
- Consider making these for your young children (or godchildren) to handle during Holy Week–a “new” mini-box each day will make the week more special and meaningful to the little ones
- Create a scrapbook for Holy Week: consider adding one page each day, and allowing younger children to take it with them to look at in the car or in church
- This webinar on observing Holy Week as a family offers fabulous ideas and is well worth the time
- Books that you can read together as a family
- And last but not least is “Things to See and Do During Holy Week.” Print this booklet and take it to each service. Encourage your children to look for the items and events listed in the booklet’s pages. Print the pages, cut them in half, then stack and assemble them into a little booklet, and staple it together. We purposefully did not number these, so that you can add pages for services you will attend that are not listed here, and/or exclude the pages of services you will not be able to attend.