The first time I spent the Easter holidays with my husband’s family, I participated in one of their long-established traditions. We made Easter baskets out of construction paper and filled them with candy. A family member’s name was written on the handle, and the entire basket was stashed into a plastic bag. On Saturday evening, my husband and his brother hid the baskets all over the house.
On Easter morning, we spent hours—in between getting ready for church and eating breakfast—hunting for our baskets. Some weren’t found until late in the day, and only with the help of many clues. One year, my brother-in-law even hid a basket in the air vent!
I was delighted with this new tradition, and when my husband and I had children, it became our own. Although we try to focus on the religious aspects of the holiday, our kids would certainly miss the Easter basket hunt if we didn’t do it.
Why are these types of traditions and rituals so important to family life? Social scientists today are rediscovering what our grandparents probably knew instinctively: Rituals provide family members with a sense of connection to each other. For kids especially, there is security in knowing that they can depend on…
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