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Child playing in SOS CV Islice
Children in Latvia face neglect as parents struggle to find work and social welfare spending declines. Education is key to securing a route out of poverty, and SOS Children's Villages offers key resources for children, including help with school work. In the past, we have supported a primary school, financing refurbishment and renewal of equipment. … more about our charity work in Latvia

Easter surprises for children in Eastern Europe

Easter drawing by child from Macedonia
Easter drawing by child from Macedonia

Discover how children from SOS Children's Village Skopje celebrate Easter.

We are republishing this popular article from last Easter.

The Easter egg hunt, of hiding eggs in bushes and under trees, is not a typical Easter tradition in Macedonia. However, last year friends who don't speak the national language organised the very first Easter egg hunt for the children of SOS Children's Village Skopje. Here's how it went...

My First Egg Hunt

Just few days before Easter last year the children from SOS Children's Village Skopje entertained their peers from an international primary school in Skopje. Since most of the students are children of foreign citizens, language was a serious barrier. Until the Egg Hunt began... and 10-year-old Marjan tells us about it.

We children always eagerly await Easter. Most of all we love the Easter eggs. We always dye them in various colours and decorate them with stickers and wax. In old times people used to dye eggs for Easter and go to church. The old customs were kept until today, but they very not very interesting to children.

So, to our great joy a new type of game was invented called "Easter eggs hiding". It is about collecting Easter eggs which the grown-ups hide under trees and bushes, or in holes in the ground, under stairways, wherever they find a place.

Last year at Easter we had guests from one school in our village. None of them spoke Macedonian and we didn't speak good English so we couldn't talk to each other. But, when their teachers and our SOS mothers hid the eggs, we were all looking together.

Everyone was excited, we were running around the village, opening every door, lifting every stone and looking behind every bush. I was very happy to find six eggs which were small and very sweet. See they were actually chocolate eggs, much tastier than normal eggs.

I was looking for the eggs with one boy from America. He found four and at the end we ate all eggs together. That's how I spent Easter last year. I hope they visit us again this year. I've been practicing my English.

Easter Bunny gives children a surprise

Easter activities for children

SOS Children's Village Islice in Latvia celebrated Easter with festivities through three days.

The preparations for Easter started already a week before the festivities with all the families in the village decorating their home. Children also decorated the nursery school hall - where they celebrated Easter. The adornments were traditional: coloured eggs, rabbits, chickens and willow branches.

On Saturday afternoon, SOS mothers together with the children boiled eggs in a natural liquid - made from herbs. During the night, when the babies slept, SOS mother Inga prepared the special surprise for the next morning.

She coloured other eggs and hide them outside. On Easter morning when the babies woke up, they went to search the hidden eggs, which were, according to their belief and knowledge, brought by an Easter rabbit during the night.

"I made a special dinner, but I think that Easter is not a festivity, which demands presents for the children. I strongly believe that it is not acceptable according to the ancient Latvian traditions. Coloured eggs and sweets and the special aura is special enough," she said.

The older kids who pretended to be the Easter rabbits happily surprised little children.

Later on that day there were Easter activities in the village: special contests, fighting with eggs and disco for everybody and theatre for little babies. For the older children there was a pop music show, where twelve children sang the songs, both Latvian and foreign pop music songs.