And so it has begun, we’re into our blessed Holy Week and Easter time. It started for us on Palm Sunday. When the twice a year folks come out in full force to attend church and receive Holy Communion. Now I have to say that since my kid became a toddler our frequency of attending church has lessened but it doesn’t go unnoticed. I honestly had no idea that our church had so many children under the age of five that belonged to it. Where are you all hiding I wanted to shout? Why don’t you come out more often? This way we could have programs for the little people. Since I didn’t feel right shouting this in the middle of a standing room only church where administering communion to those who wanted to partake took over 30 minutes, I did the best I could to keep my toddler quiet. I know some people don’t bother going with little ones because it is too much work. I agree, the fight before of why she couldn’t wear her SuperGirl cape on top of her dress was a doozy but in the end, mom won (this one time). We will be in attendance on Good Friday at the apokathilosi and since the Epitafio is around bedtime over here we’ll be passing on that one. Although I do have to say, I miss it. I miss spending every night of the week at church. There is something to be said as you listen to the Hymn of the Kassiani on Holy Tuesday, receive the Holy Unction on Holy Wednesday and hear the reading of the 12 Gospels on Holy Thursday. A feeling of calmness comes over me, in my case, and gets me prepared for the Epitafio on Good Friday and then the Anastasi Service which takes place the evening of Holy Saturday into Easter Sunday.
Our traditions may be seen as weird by some or gross by others, but to me they bring comfort. I’ll never forget watching my mom making magiritsa (my American friends called this lamb gut soup) for the first time. Or being on the telephone chatting with a friend while my mom tried to crack the lamb’s skull open to get to the “good stuff” as I was told. Really how do you explain this over the phone to a non-Greek? Sorry about the banging but we’re just trying to get to the lamb brain. Or what about the cross on the doorway of your home with the Holy Light from Anastasi. Try explaining that to the fire chief and firefighters who come to your home for a contained fire. But those of you reading this who are Greek, with a Greek or married to a Greek get it. Easter wouldn’t be the same without the red eggs, the lambathes, the Xristos Anesti or the lamb and potatoes. Easter is a celebration of life. Chirst is risen and may He rise up through each and every one of us. I wish you all a Blessed Holy Week and a Kalo Pasxa.
Click here for a Magiritsa recipe from my friend Peter Minaki, aka Kalofagas.