Saturday, April 15, 2017

Easter Sunday

Wow. Well, let's go back to Great and Holy Saturday for a moment. I decided to run downstairs with my candle to watch the Holy Fire spread. 

The street was packed to my left and my right. Only that space on the stairs was clear. All of the lights in the church were shut off. The doors were closed so I couldn't see inside.

The lights were turned on, and people started trickling out with the Holy Fire. Here's the first person to come down the stairs with it:

It spread really quickly. I lit my candle from a candle held by the gentleman in front of me, then turned around and passed the flame to a gentleman behind me. It was really cool to share that with a bunch of strangers. 

The Holy Fire spread quickly. I took this photo about a minute and a half after that woman came down the steps.
I ran back inside to the balcony so I could capture the transition from Great and Holy Saturday to Easter Sunday. 

I look a little demonic here. It's the glasses, I hope.
The faithful moved back inside the church, while the tired and hungry went home to break their fast with a feast. During their feast, they'll play a game called tsougrisma, and eat slices of tsoureki. We're definitely picking and choosing our Greek Easter traditions. We did not fast, and we will not be staying up late to eat lamb entrail soup. We did decide to try the game and the bread.

Tsougrisma is the egg-cracking game. Those beautiful red eggs that I dyed on Thursday represent Christ's tomb. Cracking them is a symbol of Christ's resurrection, the "breaking of the tomb." The goal of the game is to crack your opponents' eggs without cracking yours. The winner is said to have good luck for the rest of the year. 

Tsoureki is that braided bread I made on Thursday, with orange, tree sap, and cherry seed flavoring. It probably tastes better when you've been fasting, but it surprisingly did not taste as bad as I'd anticipated.

I'm typing this from the kitchen table. My laptop is sitting between the flames from our Holy Fire. I can't believe I've just experienced my last Greek Easter for a while. There are so many things I love about this country. I never imagined I'd love it, and its people, the way that I do now. I'm dreading the moment that we'll board a plane and fly away from our friends and neighbors. As a Christian, what makes Christ's resurrection so important to me is that no goodbye is permanent.

He is Risen.
Happy Easter.

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