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Easter games played with children

The magic of Easter for children is, above all, in the dyeing of Easter eggs. However, in addition to dyeing, painting and pasting, it is also an opportunity to play games. Hunting for the Easter Bunny is not a Slovenian custom, so it is a good idea to make children familiar with Slovenian Easter games.

These have always been a part of Slovenian Easter customs and in the past children, as well as adults, played them on Easter Sunday and Easter Monday. Among the most famous are Easter egg jarping, Easter egg rolling and Easter egg chopping or targeting.

Easter egg jarping

A player knocks the pointed end of an Easter egg against the broader part of the other player's Easter egg. The one whose egg cracks is knocked out. The winner is the one who manages to crack as many opponents' eggs as possible.  Sometimes the game also involved cheating, as the egg could be made harder by being blown out and filled with resin.

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    Easter egg jarping. Photo: SEM archives

Easter egg chopping

In this game the players throw coins at Easter eggs. A rule is agreed between the players as to whether the coin should break through the shell and be stuck in the egg, hide under the shell or come out of the egg at the other side. The targeted eggs are laid on the floor, on a stand or held in your hand.  The player gets the eggs that they successfully chop, otherwise they have to give them to another player.

Rolling Easter eggs on rakes

Two rakes are placed parallel (1–2 cm apart) with their upper ends raised 30 cm from the ground. At the end of the rakes, a blanket is laid on the floor.  A "jack" (Easter egg) is placed on a blanket within a 20 cm wide circle at one meter distance from the end of the rakes. The player may place the "jack" anywhere within the circle. An Easter egg is released from the highest point of the rake handles. Every hit of the "jack" wins a point. Each player has five tries (rolls five eggs) and the winner is the one who has the most hits.  The eggs that crack when hit go to the player. There is a similar game where instead of rakes a washboard is used.

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    Rolling Easter eggs on rakes. Photo: SEM archives

Of course, use your imagination as well

Slovenian traditional Easter games are nice and interesting, and it is up to you to create new ones.  Someday these may also become part of tradition.

You can also play a quiz or discover  the goodies in the Easter basket.  The point of this game is to learn about Easter symbolism. The cloth represents the shroud in which Jesus' dead body was wrapped when it was removed from the cross.  The basket represents the tomb of Jesus.  Easter ham and bread remind us of the body of Jesus.  Potica or cake represent the crown of thorns put on Jesus' head by soldiers. The three horseradish roots represent the three nails with which Jesus was nailed to the cross.  Eggs dyed white and red symbolise water and blood that came from the body of Jesus when he was pierced with a spear, and the cracked egg indicates that Jesus had risen from the grave. 

After you have taught your children about symbolism, let them compete with each other as to who remembered more.  The best one can get an Easter egg, a chocolate egg or some other little reward. 

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And, of course, there is nothing wrong if besides Slovenian traditional Easter games and asking questions you organise the American customary Easter egg hunt for children.

Namely, the essence of every holiday is joy, socialising and celebration. 

And it is most beautiful when joy shines in children's eyes and a smile plays on their face.  It also warms your heart.  Let Easter really be merry!

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    Easter chocolate egg as a reward or a gift will make kids happy. Photo: GMVozd-GettyImages/GulliverFilm&Foto

Author: Tanja Glogovčan Belančić

Date: 27. March 2024

Time to read: 2 min