Dormition, but since it is only two weeks away for those of us on the New Calendar, I have been planning out some activities and ideas I'd like to do with our little ones during the fast and the feast.
A Special Candle for our Table
I am hoping to get a special candle to put on our table and light each evening as we eat dinner and keep lit afterward while we read from the Children's Bible or one of our other special books for this season. We did this last year and it was a big hit!
Color in an Icon of the Dormition
In addition to coloring in a icon of the Dormition, I would also like to explain the icon to our daughter.
Learn the Troparion of the Feast
I'd like to start singing the troparion of the feast with the children well before the feast is celebrated. Sugar Plum is starting to really remember the words to songs and I would like to capitalize on that and have her learn the troparion so that she can sing along in church on Dormition.
Set Up Our Feast Day Shelf
Though I don't have pictures of our Dormition feast day shelf from last year, normally we include an icon of the feast (you can use the colored in icon that your child did, a book about the feast, or a framed printout from the computer if you don't have one of Dormition), fresh flowers, and anything else you'd like.
Read The Story of Mary the Mother of God
Buy Flowers to be Blessed
It is such a nice tradition to take your little ones to the market the day before the feast to choose a bunch of flowers to be blessed at Liturgy the next day. You can help them to arrange the flowers in a vase, and have them bring the blooms into the church. Once the flowers are home, the children can choose where to display them. You can also offer a bouquet to a neighbor who isn't Orthodox and explain the significance of the special day to them.
Read Dormition of the Theotokos
Choose Special Outfits to Wear
The Liturgical color of the Feast of Dormition is blue. If your children have clothing that is blue, you can have them wear it on the feast. If not, allow them to choose their nicest outfit to wear to Liturgy to honor the Mother of God.
Plant a Theotokos Garden
Several years ago, we planted a Mother of God Garden. It was a lot of fun! I'd like to put together a container garden with the children full of plants that were named after the Theotokos. We'll probably keep it relatively small in scale so that we can enjoy the plants on a table.
Read The Illustrated Life of the Theotokos for Children
A Day of Celebration
On the feast of Dormition (August 15th), plan a special day! Enjoy the Divine Services, serve good foods, do something together as a family, etc. Make the feast a day to remember. It is easy to make feasts like Christmas and Pascha (Easter) special, but we forget that each of the Twelve Great Feasts of the Church are supposed to be days that we celebrate!
Beautiful post. What a great guideline for families to celebrate feasts. Involving all of the senses too!
lovely. yes, it is good to have traditions like this... thanks for sharing!
Thanks, Mat. Emily for this lovely post.
Dormition was the first feast we celebrated in the Church.
We made our candle so big last year we are still burning it at prayer time :)
I didn't know about the flowers, that will be a nice tradition to start this year.
Thank you so much for all these wonderful ideas! I really appreciate it!
This is a wonderful post. Thanks for the helpful suggestions how to help our children learn about the fast.
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