By Cristina Ciobanu
It is spring time; the cute colourful flowers are everywhere, baby birds singing and dancing all the morning and wake everybody up. Winter holidays are gone but everybody seems to be busy about preparing themselves for another important holiday, Easter.
I’m from that one small, mysterious but beautiful country, Moldova and I will talk about our interesting traditions for Easter. Easter is another very important religious holiday, together with Christmas. The date of the holiday is calculated using a lunar-solar calendar and it is always either in the beginning or at the end of April. A big part of the population belongs to the Eastern Orthodox Church therefore sometimes our date of Easter is different from another Churches.
The holidays last two days, the Easter Sunday and Monday and also one week after, we have the Memorial Easter when people go to visit and take care of the graves of their deceased relatives. But before the actual holidays, a long time preparation is there. People start getting ready for Easter with the beginning of spring.
Some very religious people fast before Easter, they do not eat any animal product 40 days until Easter. I always tried to do it, at least for one or two weeks but I always fail which means that it is a very difficult process. This is for us to understand and pass through the same hard days that Jesus was going through.
On the Thursday before the Easter Sunday, grannies, mothers, even the men part of the families gather and cook for Easter. We cook the delicious sponge cakes, different types of cakes and of course paint the eggs; traditionally red eggs are the most important ones but with the modern era, people came up with different ideas and now you can do anything you want. I cannot wait for this day to experiment my amazing ideas on the eggs. Another traditional food for Easter is lamb, which I do not like, I eat just chicken, but it is traditional, the other traditional meals that are present during all the holidays are also on the table too and of course our wonderful delicious wine.
On the Easter night, we go to the church to wait for the priest to sprinkle our food, especially the Easter cake, Easter bread, wine and eggs with holy water. This is the food we will eat the next day. Also, if you are there at around midnight you might have the chance to take the light which usually is brought from Jerusalem, the light that lightens up just and only during the Orthodox Easter night.
Now I will talk about my favourite things to do during the Easter holidays. Besides going at the Church at the night with my friends which was the thing I was waiting for in Moldova all year long, I have some other sweet childhood memories. My mother wouldn’t let us go alone at the Church because we were little, but we always went to our granny the next day and had fun. On the Easter Sunday Morning, on the countryside mostly, someone has to announce everybody that “Hristos a Inviat” which means “Jesus Resurrected”. Afterwards, children go in groups from one house to another house and say to everybody “Hristor a Inviat” at which the families have to answer “Adevarat a Inviat” which means “Indeed resurrected”, they also give children eggs, candies, sweets, fruits sometimes even a small amount of money.
Ohhh I almost forgot my favourite thing during the Easter morning!!! The tradition is to put in a ball some clean water and two of the eggs that have been sprinkled with holy water the night before, and also three coins. Usually the granny prepares it for her nephews but all the families do it now. Every family member has to come and “wash” both chicks with the red eggs and the one who wakes up the last one and comes, takes the money; for the last years I always tried to pretend to sleep more so I could take the money but because my brother is younger than me, he ended up taking it. By doing this it means that you will have red beautiful chicks all year long and money in the pocket. After this we put on very beautiful, cute and sometimes new clothes and go visit our grandparents or another family friends.
To me Easter and Christmas are very warm, nice holidays which make me feel better. Easter time is the warmest and calm period of the year, everybody is happy and nice, kids playing all around searching for sweets in the garden, granny and mommy cooking, daddy and grannydaddy choosing the best wine, and me…eating everything I see, except lamb.