Category Archives: Easter

  • -

Top 10 Things to Do in March 2024 at Chiltern Open Air Museum

Welcome Sign at Chiltern Open Air Museum with Spring Flowers

We’re so happy to be back open Fridays to Mondays from Saturday 9th March. The team have been busy getting the site ready for visitors and creating lots of new experiences for this season. So what are the top things to enjoy this March at COAM?

1. Follow Our Unmissable Objects Guide

Let our brand new Unmissable Objects guide show you around the museum and explore the stories behind our most fascinating objects. Follow the guide online, download a pdf or buy a printed copy at the ticket office as a reminder of the day

2. See Our 3D Images Exhibition

See the museum in a new way through our 3D image exhibition in the High Wycombe Furniture Factory. This temporary exhibition from professional photographer Ethel Davies will feature different images throughout the 2024 season.

3. Listen to Heritage Stories

On Sunday 24th March, a special Campfire Heritage Stories event is taking place. You will have the chance to hear from community representatives about how they have come to be in Buckinghamshire and how their communities have become firmly established as part of the beautiful county. 

Find out more about the Heritage Stories Event.

4. Follow our Brass Rubbing Trail

Brass Rubbing Plaque

See if you can find the eight new brass rubbing plaques around the museum site.

5. Discover Traditional Crafts

This month we’ll be experiencing spoon carving, chair making and flint knapping as our traditional craft demonstrations return to the museum.

6. Listen to a Talk About Local Herbalist Maude Grieve

Come and join us on Friday 22nd March for a talk by garden historianClaire de Carle MA, on local herbalist, Maud Grieve. Talks on different subjects will be held on the last Friday of every month throughout the season including the History of Photography,

7. Join Us for Easter Weekend Family Fun

A huge straw nest with chickens in front

Immerse yourself in our willow sculptures that are arriving this Easter. Have fun finding the nests hidden around the site in our birdwatching inspired Easter trail. Bring out your creative side with some family crafts and make unforgettable memories. For a small additional charge, you can even experience the thrill of pony-riding. 

8. Bring Mum for a Day Out

A yummy cake in Skippings Barn

We’re open on Mothering Sunday so why not treat mum to a day out discovering our historic buildings, exploring our 45 acre grounds and having tea & cake in Skippings Barn.

9. Meet New-born Lambs

Oxford Down Lambs

Lambing season will start at the end of March so visit our lambing fold to find out about traditional farming and meet our new-born lambs over the Easter holidays.

10. See Our Gardens Start to Bloom

As spring unfolds, visit our traditional gardens to see the spring flowers start to bloom. Find out about the arts and crafts planting designs of Gertrude Jekyll in the Astleham Manor garden or the herbs used in the Iron Age next to our replica roundhouse.


  • -

COAM Craft Ideas for the Easter Holidays Part 2

Tags : 

In this final installment of family learning resources, we’re providing you with some fun Springtime inspired craft ideas to try during the Easter Holidays. Download the resource below to find out more about the crafts and how to make them. 

Download: COAM Craft Ideas for the Easter Holidays Part 2

A big thank you goes to our wonderful Terrific Tuesday volunteers for providing the craft ideas for this instalment. Our Terrific Tuesday events are always planned with our volunteers’ help and support and we all hope that we’ll be able to welcome you back on site for more fun at some point this year.

We hope you have enjoyed this series of family and home learning resources. Did you miss any? You can find a complete list of the resources here: https://coam.org.uk/learning/home-learning-resources/. If you did enjoy these resources or if you have any comments or ideas for future resources please do let us know as this helps us to develop new ideas with you in mind. We are currently working on planning safe onsite Terrific Tuesday event days for May half term and the Summer Holidays. We hope to see you then, so long as COVID guidance allows us! Make sure to keep an eye out on social media and the website for more information when it becomes available.

 


  • -

COAM Craft Ideas for the Easter Holidays Part 1

Tags : 

Flower Easter craft

For our second to last installment in this series of family learning resources, we’re providing you with some fun Springtime inspired craft ideas to try during the Easter Holidays. Download the resource below to find out more about the crafts and how to make them.

Download COAM Craft Ideas for the Easter Holidays Part 1

Easter craft bookmark

A big thank you goes to our wonderful Terrific Tuesday volunteers for providing the craft ideas for this resource. Our Terrific Tuesday events are always planned with our volunteers’ help and support and we all hope that we’ll be able to welcome you back on site for more fun at some point this year.

We hope you enjoy this week’s craft ideas. Make sure you come back next week for our final resource in this series of home learning resources where you’ll find more fun springtime inspired craft ideas to make at home.

See more home learning resources


  • -

Lesser-known Easter Traditions

From orange chasing to football matches, with the Easter period approaching we investigate some of our lesser-known traditions.

Whilst the stories of hot cross buns, Easter eggs, and Simnel cake are well known, there is a huge array of more unlikely customs that a look into our history reveals.

Eggs

We cannot delve into our Easter past without stumbling upon egg-related stories. A more exerting variation of the traditional Easter egg hunt are the egg chases that take place across the country. Chasing, or hunting, eggs is a clear reference to the story of the resurrection; not only do eggs represent new life, but the emphasis on their discovery is evocative of revealing Jesus’ empty tomb. Chasing after hard-boiled eggs down a hill, known as Pace egging, is a tradition that is said to derive from the Pagan festival of Ēostre that welcomed Spring and new life. Like so many of our traditions, existing Pagan celebrations were appropriated with a Christian message to bring the Christian calendar into established practices. Pace egging has thus also come to represent the stone that covered Jesus’ tomb being rolled away.

oranges

Bedfordshire has a unique take on this tradition with oranges, rather than eggs, being chased on Dunstable Downs. Oranges were pelted from the heights, with those chasing after them aiming to hold onto their fruit until the bottom. Some even went to the lengths of donning top hats to attract the attention, and the fruit, of the pelters. However, the shortage of oranges during the Second World War halted the tradition temporarily. Orange chasing was reborn after the war but increasing health and safety concerns and waning support from local businesses meant the custom could no longer be sustained. With the build-up of heavy scrubland on the Downs making the chase virtually impossible, the last revival attempt in 1985 looks unlikely to be repeated.

In addition to the chases, pace egg plays are a tradition that was rediscovered in the post-war revival of folklore. The plays have roots in Celtic, Syrian, and Egyptian cultures, and the word ‘pace’ itself is thought to be from the Latin ‘pasch’ (passion or Easter); typifying the melange of roots that contribute to ostensibly Christian traditions. As a battle between good and evil, with St George fighting the Slasher, the comical Toss Pot representing the Devil, and revival by a Quack doctor, the plays reflect the resurrection and older themes of new life. The pace eggs themselves, originally boiled in onion skins to give them a golden appearance, were given out at the end of the plays.

Maundy Money is another Easter tradition, with royalty distributing alms for the poor on Maundy Thursday (the day before Good Friday). This tradition of giving relief such as clothing and food to the poor dates to the thirteenth century; royalty would also wash the feet of the poor, following Jesus washing the feet of his disciples. Charles II started the custom of giving coins (a four, three, two, and penny pieces), and this became the dominant form of Maundy aid. With the coming of the eighteenth century, washing the feet of the poor disappeared, whilst gifts of food and clothes disappeared the following century. Today, those receiving Maundy Money are pensioners chosen for their services to Christian churches or the community. The number of pensioners receiving the Maundy money is determined by the age of the monarch, with one man and one woman for each year. This custom is unique in that it is the only award where the monarch travels to those receiving the money.

Finally, from chasing eggs and oranges we arrive at the tradition of Shrovetide football. This dates to the mob football played over fields and through rivers in the early middle ages. In Ashbourne, Derbyshire, their football match takes place over Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday. The River Henmore divides the townspeople into two teams: the Up-Ards and the Down’Ards, coming from North and South of the river. The game is different in that the aim is to score an own goal; with each goal a millstone set three miles apart across the town. The scorer must stand in the river and tap the ball against the millstone three times to win. Far from whoever has possession of the ball, the scorer is elected en route and is typically an Ashbourne resident. This unique take on football has been given the Royal epithet since 1928, which was formally renewed in 2003.

Looking into some of our more obscure Easter customs shows that the way we mark Easter incorporates our Pagan and Christian traditions, as well as the variety of community activities across the whole of the United Kingdom.

Written by Daniel Bowles, Museum Volunteer


Search our site

Join our mailing list

Donate to our charity