Saturday, April 23, 2011

Round Robin: The Two Easters

For this week's Round Robin, I asked to see "Springtime Celebrations." Lest it be all about just Easter and Passover, I pointed to a fun page full of April holidays and observances, many of them quite obscure and some of them downright silly. But for me, this week has been an immersion in Holy Week, the most church-intensive week of most Christian calendars. I serve at the 7 PM services on Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday and the main service on Easter Sunday morning. My friend Kevin and I ate lamb at the Maundy Thursday communal Seder-inspired meal, and later kept vigil last night at the Altar of Repose. Kevin is in the parish choir, and has been singing all sorts of special songs, hymns, canticles and chants this week.

Here is just a taste of what parts of Holy Week have looked like at St. Michael's this year:

Holy Week starts with Palm Sunday, a week before Easter. At St. Michael's it starts outside, where, among other things, palm branches are blessed and then carried into the church.

The Passion (any of the four Gospel accounts of the death of Jesus) is sung several times during Holy Week. The guy with the beard is singing the words of Jesus. St. Michael's doesn't do a full Passion Play, but some choir members are given specific roles to sing.

This is the sacristy, just off the main church, where the clergy and others prepare for services.
The plaster candlesticks seen here are so old and fragile that one of them broke in the middle of a Holy Week service last year. The candle part is a plastic tube containing lamp oil and a wick. Bob here is replacing the wick. And hooray! Brooke and I managed to carry these candles to and from the back of the church without therm breaking again.

All of these Holy Week services lead up to Easter, but since that's not until the day after this Challenge, let's move on.

I seem to go on about religious ceremonies a bit too much in this blog, and so I think it's time to point out that there's a separate Easter celebration that has very little to do with what Jesus did at Passover nearly 2000 years ago. Secular Easter, like secular Christmas, has a lot to do with food, decorations and gifts. For example:

For some reason, the traditional Easter dinner involves ham. Safeway has a whole bin full of hams, each of which would feed John and me for a week. Only we're not going to do that!

The traditional Easter flower is the lily. I don't know why.

Kids get gifts from the Easter Bunny, theoretically. Here are a bunch of Easter-themed stuffed animals and balloons.

There was a time when Easter baskets were filled with hand-colored hard-boiled eggs. That's what Paas food dye is for. Dyed eggs are also hidden in homes and yards so kids can have an Easter egg hunt. My mom once told me I was in an Easter Egg Roll on the White House lawn during the Eisenhower era. I must have been two or three years old at the time. That was over 50 years ago. I suspect that most people don't bother to color eggs anymore. These days it's all about the candy: Cadbury creme eggs, chocolate bunnies, jelly beans and so on. Marshmallow Peeps are practically a cult unto themselves. I don't like them much myself!

Now let's check out other Robins' Springtime Celebrations!

Linking List
As of Saturday, April 23 at 9:25 AM

Karen - Posted!
Outpost Mâvarin

Sweet Memories

ScrabbleQueen Knits, Too

Peg - Posted!
Who Can Discover It?


1 comment:

Scrabblequeen said...

Nice photo essay. I am sorry to say I didn't end up posting, as life was very uncooperative this year re my spring celebrations. All was done very, very quietly with only the hubs and I present. No photos were taken at all...