Monday, July 1, 2013

Pentecost (after the fact)

There are already several great posts on this blog with ideas for celebrating Pentecost with your little ones. Ma Torg has already done a thorough job covering the liturgical bases—prayers, troparions, and scripture readings, etc.

I thought I'd share a few photos to illustrate a few of her ideas that we've put into practice as well as share some additional ideas I happened upon. (I don't think any of them are my own.)

In the opinion of my six-year-old, these family-liturgical traditions make Pentecost feel almost as wonderful and celebratory as Pascha.

We love Ma Torg's suggestion of a dove mobile.

This year I downloaded a dove mobile template from, but made it with white paper instead of felt and left off the "olive branch." We suspended it from the light fixture over our dining table and placed a bouquet of red roses underneath. Wah-la! The Holy Spirit descending over tongues of flame.

In the past I've made the gorgeous Pentecost cake presented on Shower of Roses, but, alas! This year I couldn't find one of my cake pans. So instead of a cake, we followed a lead from Dawn at By Sun and Candlelight and made cupcakes with twelve white candles representing the disciples. Alas, we did not have anything blue to make a Lady Mary cupcake. Maybe next year. But we did have an extra-large white candle in the middle representing Christ our Light.

Seven strawberry hearts represent the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit which are traditionally drawn from the description of the Messiah in Isaiah 11:1-3a, as translated from the Septuagint. In The Orthodox Study Bible it reads as follows: (The seven gifts are highlighted.)
There shall come forth a rod from the root of Jesse, and a flower shall grow out of his root. The Spirit of God shall rest upon Him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and godliness. The Spirit of the fear of God shall fill Him.
We can remind our children that these are the gifts the priest prays over each new member of the Church family during the chrismation service.

After dinner we lit the candles-representing-disciples aflame and "like a might wind" blew them out.

We also enjoyed a nine-fruit fruit salad to remember the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit listed in Galations 5:22-23:
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
Apparently, some traditions recognize twelve fruits adding in modesty, chastity, and splitting "longsuffering" into "patience" and "longanimity."

In the past we've also enjoyed making a version of the windsock described here.  And, of course, there are Orthodox icon coloring pages for all the major feasts to print and bring to church for the kids to focus on during liturgy (at least for a couple minutes anyway!). You can download and print the whole coloring book.

For even more ideas (games, gifts for the children, and so forth), I again refer you to the wealth of content generously assembled by Ma Torg here.

May the Holy Spirit continue to bless and illuminate your family.