Happy Easter! Paște fericit! April 8th was Easter Sunday for the Eastern Orthodox church. For many here, it is a more important holiday than Christmas and families travel back to their home villages for Easter Sunday and/or for Memorial Easter.
We went to the church around 3am (other people had been there since midnight) and joined the others outside the church for our basket and ourselves to be blessed by the priest. After he concluded the mass inside, he walked around the church several times- once with incense, once with holy water to bless the church and a final round of holy water to bless the people. It was a beautiful traditional to participate in. (Also found out that our village has street lights, the lights were turned on for this occasion.) For the next month, I greeted people or was greeted with “Hristos a veniat! (Christ has risen!) and the response: “Adevărat a înviat” (True, he has resurrected!).
After leaving church at 430am, we went home to have a masa. Prior to Easter there is custom to fast (like other Christian denominations), some fast for 6 weeks and some the week before (no meat, no dairy, no oil, no sugar) and this meal is the breaking of that fast. For this meal, eggs are dyed red; the natural way is to use the skins of onions. The red dyed eggs are smacked together to see which one doesn’t crack. A special sweet bread, pașca, is also made. After our feast, I rambled around the yard with the grandchildren while the cows were milked. Then the host family took off to visit with friends and family in the village. I took a nap.
My Pască story and culture mix up.
A week before Easter I was talking with a teacher at the center about doing a post that shows how the center celebrates birthdays. I had seen a card with a cupcake on it that someone had made. I thought it was a birthday card with a cupcake on it. Which was rather odd as cupcakes are not a thing here or at least not in Tudora. I shared with the teacher that I thought she could use that as one of the images for the birthday post. She seemed to agree but had a look of uncertainty on her face.
The next week, Pasca (Celebration bread for Easter) started showing up at the stores and in people’s shopping bags. I finally understood that the image that I had seen was not a cupcake but in fact a “Pască”. I had mostly seen store made breads but the week after Easter, I saw home-made ones at my Romanian Tutor’s house. It was beautiful.