Les gens qui ne rient jamais ne sont pas des gens sérieux

Be who you are and say what you mean, those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind

Monday, April 17, 2006

Hi! How are you doing? Yeah, fine thanks. Oh Happy Easter to you too. Not bad actually, how was yours? Oh good. Yeah they have these traditions which I've never come across before and no chocolate eggs. I know! No Easter bunny, no egg hunt and no chocolate eggs. Well, you can get them, but most people tend to concentrate on the whole Jesus dying and rising again thing. Yeah, I guess so. But I like chocolate eggs.

Well, on the Saturday everyone prepares these little baskets, fills them with eggs (real, hard boiled, no chocolate ones, did I mention they don't do chocolate eggs?), salt, bread, sausage and a few token flowers and decorated eggs. Then they take them to the church to get them blessed. It's supposed to be symbolic for the food you eat on the Sunday. I went with Marek and took sneaky pictures in the church. I feel blasphemous doing that but I guess there's no reason why it should bother God. Then the priest came and said a few words about The Meaning Of Easter and flung holy water about near the table of baskets, and it was over. Yeah, pretty quick. Then we went through this whole, do we give money? do we ignore the begging bowls? (ok, that's not what they are called I'm sure, it's more likely to be 'donation basket' or 'tithes recepticle' or something but they looked like begging bowls to me and the priest kept coming and emptying them in a way that made it look like he thought someone was going to run off with the cash) how much do we give? I had a 5 and a 2 zloty piece. I felt like I should probably give the 5 but ended up giving the 2. I justified it by the speed with which the priest rushed through the ritual (admittedly probably the 9th that day) and for some reason Marek's family found this very amusing, and kept repeating it to newcomers as if it were a treasured family anecdote.

Yeah and then nothing really happened until Sunday morning and the Easter breakfast. Then it was the egg tradition (no, no chocolate ones). There's a plate of eggs and everyone takes one then goes around wishing each person something special and swapping bits of egg. It's like the big wafer thing they have at Christmas, except it's Easter so it's eggs. I think the wafer must be less messy. No, it was very nice, although pretty challenging to find enough nice things to wish people in Polish. I tended to be vague and stick to health and happiness.

Well, then we had a walk and spent large amounts of time either talking or eating or both and I spent a disproportionate amount of time answering questions about English Easters which came from an aunt who has lived in the Polish countryside all her life. Kind of difficult to relate.

Oh, the best bit was when they were asking about 'my' church, that being the Church of England. In response to their specific questions I told them how we didn't really go in for the whole making the sign of the cross any time we entered a church, and how there was no confession but that people tended to talk directly to God rather than through a priest. Oh the joy when Marek's sister said how it seemed like a jolly good thing and then got on to how there were too many 'religious' people in Poland who just go through the motions and give their money to paedophilic priests with sports cars. Better to be a person living according to Christian principles than to be a mean spirited person who goes to church regularly and follows empty rituals (this was accompanied a pointed look at an aunt). I know, the fun of family meals, I was trying not to grin too widely.

Well, no, not really. That was about it. I told them about egg hunts, we drank up our vodka and went home. I think we're off to church again now. Yeah, twice in 3 days. There's going to be lots of alleluiahs and apparently I have to take an umbrella. No, it's not raining but they have this tradition of spraying water on girls on Easter Monday. I have no idea. If I find out I'll let you know. Oh, someone said it also works with perfume which sounds like a much better idea to me. Hmm.

Ok then, better be off. Nice chatting to you... keep in touch. You too. Bye.

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Anonymous gs said...

Are you hearing voices? - you seem to be replying to someone we can't hear. Is it anything to do with going to church a lot?

8:26 pm  
Blogger Becca said...

Must be. Far too much church for me. Still, it's a nice long time until the next big religious holiday so I'll have time to recover.

11:56 am  

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