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Easter thoughts

It is Easter Sunday.

Easter means different things to different people.

For Christians it is a day of celebration. Christ has risen. This is a time of love, renewal, and hope. It is a celebration of life.

Traditions form an important part of this religious celebration.

As I was growing up I remember the wonderful smell of yeast permeating the house at Easter time…. mmmmmm … it was something special. My mama would make sirnica; a traditional Croatian sweet Easter bread. She would plait some loaves and place a chicken egg at the end. It was our homemade Easter egg. She would generally do this on Good Friday.

This bread is delicious.

I have so many memories related to the making of this bread: the electric oven not working and having to take the risen bread to a neighbour’s oven, the panic when the bread wouldn’t rise, the warm house, searching shops to buy “live” yeast rather than dried yeast, the hard work creating this bread, and best of all, the joy of eating it.

Every year, since my marriage ended, my children spend Good Friday with their father to paint Easter eggs. This is a Polish custom introduced to them as babies.

There is an entire ritual associated with these eggs. It begins on Good Friday and ends a few days later when you test the strength of your egg through an “egg bashing” contest. Over the years I have learnt there is a trick to ensuring your egg is the one left with no cracks after another egg has hit it. It is all in the way you place your egg in your hand and the way you hold it. However, like everything in life, if there is a hint of crack in the shell then the unexpected can still happen.

These brightly coloured eggs are beautiful. There is a real art to painting them. Over the years we have experimented with all sorts of techniques. We have produced works of art (well, in our eyes at least). This year, my daughter informs me, they used dyes as usual for the all over colour, and then created their designs using wax crayons and water colours.

Stage 1: Hard boil the eggs. Dip them in a dye solution to provide an all over background colour. If you don’t have dyes you can put onion skins in the water as you are boiling them. The whiter your eggs, the more vibrant the colour. Finding white eggs for this purpose is no mean feat!

Dyed eggs waiting to be painted.

Zofia painting Easter eggsStage 2: Pick which coloured egg you want to work with.

Decide what you are going to do with your egg. You can decorate your egg any way you want.

You often start with a design in mind and then change it as you go. Every painted egg has a story associated with it. The finished painted egg is always a surprise. Just like life! How does the proverb go? The best laid plans …? Sorry, I don’t know the rest of it! Remember I am the person who got zero on a proverb test at school.

The most important part of this stage is to have fun.

Stage 3: Enjoy your creations!

The finished painted Easter eggs

If you are not Christian, Easter appears to be a reason for a holiday. In this politically correct world of ours I find it interesting that non-Christians are still happy to acknowledge the religious celebrations of Easter and Christmas. For them it means something very different though – time off work! Why would they give this up based on the fact that they do not believe in the religious reason for the celebration?

Shouldn’t everyone’s religious celebrations then be acknowledged as public holidays? The current practice is not very inclusive of the beliefs of others. Maybe instead we should allocate everybody a certain number of days of leave on a yearly basis to be taken according to their specific religious celebrations?

Albert Einstein once said:

There are only two ways to live your life.
One is as though nothing is a miracle.
The other is as if everything is.

When you begin living with miracles you start seeing them everywhere – in the sky and trees, in the people, the warmth of a touch, in a person’s eyes or their smile.

Whether you believe in the miracle of Easter or not, most people tend to use this time as a reason to come together, share food, exchange eggs, relax, and just be. Any reason to make time to spend with those people in our life that matter is always a good one.

Happy Easter to all of you.

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