To start off Holy Week, I love this craft from The Diary of a Sower. I think this is such a simple, beautiful way to remind our children all week long that this week, of all weeks, is a time to unite ourselves to Christ again and to re-focus on our commitments to prayer, alms-giving and fasting. The Church provides us with beautiful reflections every day during Holy Week, so I adjusted some of the pieces she used and wanted to share my finished product! I can't wait to do it with the children...Here is the lesson, along with all the pieces and instructions that you'll need!
The craft is designed to be an interactive teaching tool. We will go through all of Holy Week as a class. Then, the children will take home their craft, and add one piece on to the ribbon (with velcro) each day. I will send home a family worksheet so that the parents can re-read all the stories to their children. For class, I am going to divide the room into nine stations, so we will travel as a class from station to station. Each station will be a different day of Holy Week.
I will introduce the children to Holy Week: the importance, the focus on prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. Children will use sparkle mod podge to finish off their top pieces. I made these by buying inexpensive wooden squares at the local craft store. They are similar to this, but only 3 inches by 3 inches. I spray painted the wood gray, then used mod podge to glue these squares to the wood. The children will use the glitter mod podge to put the final layer on top.
On the back of the squares, I hot glued the wide, purple ribbon as well as a small white ribbon to use to hang the piece up. (Hopefully this holds up...perhaps I could have secured the ribbon with something better?) The purple ribbon was 36 inches long. Starting at the bottom of the ribbon, I placed small squares of velcro 4 inches apart. I attached 8 pieces of velcro.
Palm Sunday: On this day, we remember Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem and will read John 12: 12-15 to the children from the Bible. Children receive their Palm Branches which have a very thin piece of velcro on the back of the stem to secure them to the ribbon. I found silk palm branches at the local craft store and cut them into small pieces to make these items.
Great and Holy Monday: On this day we focus on the story of Joseph. Joseph is a Christ-type figure, given over to his enemies, only to later save many. Children will receive the colorful coat and hear the story of Joseph from a book. The piece was made by cutting out a coat from colorful fabric. I used Fray Block (found at the craft store) on the edges to prevent the fabric from shredding and avoid having to sew anything. On the back of the coat was a small piece of velcro again to secure it to the ribbon.
Great and Holy Tuesday: On this day we focus on the parable of the 10 virgins. Children will receive their lamp, just print the page and laminate it. Then, “light” the lamp by punching a hole in the flame of the printable. Then, slide through a piece of red felt and hot glue the fire together on either side. Read the story to the children from the Bible, Matthew 25: 1-13.
Station Five: Great and Holy Wednesday: On this day we remember the story of Mary Magdela anointing Jesus’ feet with perfume and oil. Children receive their oil bottle which I made by cutting the shape out of firm felt. This piece did not need its own velcro on the back, it stuck to the ribbon's velcro without any problem.I will read to the children from the Bible, John 12: 1-8.
Great and Holy Thursday: On this day we remember the Last Supper. The children receive a laminated chalice, they can decorate it with sticker gems. Read from the Bible Matthew 26: 26-30.
Great and Holy Friday: On this day we remember the crucifixion and the children receive the cross. I found these at the local craft store again. They had twine through the top to hang them, so I wrapped it around the top to resemble the crown of thorns. A plain wooden cross would be fine as well. Read John 19: 17-30 from the Bible.
Great and Holy Saturday: We remember Jesus in the tomb, his descent into Hades to open the gates to Heaven, and the restful waiting for the resurrection. Children receive a tomb cut from firm felt. I cut the gray and the black together. Then, I cut the "door" out of the gray, revealing the black behind. From the left-over gray felt, I cut it into a circle to resemble the stone in front of the door. We will read John 19: 38-42 from the Bible.
Pascha...He is risen! Truly He is risen! Our greatest Feast day of the year! The gates of Heaven are opened! Read Luke 24: 1-9 from the Bible and the children receive the icon for the Feast. Just print this page and laminate them. The icon shows the risen Christ pulling Adam and Eve up from the grave.
For more information about the Melkite traditions surround Holy Week, visit this website. There are beautiful pictures and a brief description for each day of Holy Week.