Sunday, April 8, 2007

Happy Easter

8I missed church again this year, Easter Sunday. For the first 26 years of my life, I never, not once, missed church on Easter. It was actually my favorite holiday for a long time (until I discovered Mardi Gras). It was the one day of the year for me that was always 100% about family. Even on Christmas I went out with my friends as a teenager. But not Easter.

On Easter mornings back in Seattle, I would wake up to an Easter basket filled with candies and goodies. Sometimes my mom even created a treasure hunt that sent us running around the house, finding rhyming clues tucked behind the 70s decor and family heirlooms, eventually leading my sisters and me to a closet loaded with chocolates from Sees and Cadbury's.

As a kid, Easter was just about the one day my mom could get me to brush my hair and put on a dress. In church we saw all the old friends who only surfaced around Passover and Christmas Eve.

After church was the best tradition though - the Easter egg hunt. This was so popular we forced my dad to keep it up until I was 18 and went off to college. Then after that, the event was rekindled for the children of my sister's friends. We had the best, big backyard for hiding eggs. You'd find them tucked into the crooks of tree trunks, nestled in the rockery, even inside tulip blooms.

For the last four years, I've been in Africa on Easter. My favorite country for Easter was Eritrea, where families have huge family gatherings and typically slaughter a sheep or goat for the occasion. For the week leading up to Easter, you would see livestock transported in every way imaginable - shepherded into the trunks of taxis, legs tied around the necks of bicyclists like backpacks. On Easter I spent the day with a friend and his Eritrean coworkers. I'm pretty sure I ate brain - but maybe it was tripe - followed by cup after miniature cup of strong, sweet coffee.

In Ghana the women, who dress like the royalty in "Coming to America" just to go to buy milk, really went all out with their Sunday best.

Last year, Jorge and I missed the Coptic Egyptian Christmas by just a day, where pilgrims travel to the medieval quarter of Cairo to burn incense and sing atmospheric chants in ancient churches. We visited the well where Mary and Joseph were said to have lived near during their years in Egypt.

This year? Well, I thought the 1st was Easter, and we had friends for brunch - a nice communion, I should say. We spent the afternoon by the dam, sailing and watching birds. But it turns out I'm actually spending Easter trapped in a Ministry of Health workshop, so I think I prefer the other version better.


Anonymous said...

Uh, Gwyneth... Easter Sunday is this coming Sunday. April 8th, 2007. At least here in the U.S. :-)


Matt said...

Yeah Easter is this coming weekend.... unless it's an April Fool's joke?

Dad said...

I think the question is whether you are trying to pull an April 1 stunt on us or whether Jorge persuaded you that last Sunday was Easter Sunday?
BTW, my favorite April Fools Day trick is still the Panorama report on the abundant spaghetti harvest in the late 50s which showed to a gullible British public, Italian peasants picking the ripe spaghetti from bushes. (Us folks in Yorkshire knew nowt about the stuff anyway. I had to go to the chemists to get bay leaves when I wanted to cook some!)

Gwyneth said...

Yeah, that was a bit of a "duh" moment for me. I don't know why it felt like easter - well there were tons of people out in the sunday best.

No, I'm actually spending Easter weekend in a Ministry of Health workshop, so I think I'll just pretend that last week was Easter.

Dad said...

I learned yesterday that this is one of those years when the orthodox and western churches all celebrate Easter on the same day. So you were REALLY out of step!