Another month, another festival! But this time it’s a celebration of sacrifice and love that lasts a lot longer than Christmas. Yes, I’m talking about Easter and I’d want nothing more than to take you all on a magical journey wrought with tradition, sacrifice and the birth of belief for us Catholics.
Easter is preceded by Lent — the long, agonising 40-day period of pure abstinence. The logic is that if Christ gave up his life for us, we can at least give up something really close to our hearts in his memory. I usually abstain from non-vegetarian food for these 40 days and it is torturously difficult! I go to bed dreaming of chicken, bacon and fish and wake up feeling extremely guilty.
But what’s more difficult are the two holy days of complete abstinence — Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Honest to God, I behave like an absolute drama queen on those days just to bug my mom as we’re not allowed to have anything but water! It’s also funny how on Good Friday, a day of remorse for us Catholics as Christ died on this day, we are wished ‘Happy Good Friday’ by people who are actually unaware of the significance of Good Friday. As these are honest wishes, you can’t help but accept them.
‘Maundy Thursday’, which takes place in the holy (last) week of Lent is the recreation of Christ’s last meal before he was crucified. At this meal, Christ very humbly washed the feet of his 12 Apostles. I can’t help but imagine the divine power of help and restoration that the Son of God was blessed with.
Good Friday is a day of fasting and the visitation of the 14 “stations” — the 14 stops that Christ took before his crucifixion. This time, in Australia, I visited 14 beautiful churches. It was a glorious experience - people across ages basking in the love of God. Not to forget the soul-stirring choir songs. The Saturday night Mass is in absolute darkness with the priest lighting our candles one by one. My eyes light up at the sight of the shimmering golden glow of the candles. Easter has begun!
And how can one forget Easter eggs and the Easter bunny? Colourful eggs of various shapes and sizes that mesmerise your eyes and tastebuds. This reminds me of a very funny incident that occurred some years ago when a close friend got married. She was so accustomed to my Easter egg tradition that she expected her non-Catholic hubby to gift her Easter eggs who promptly opened the fridge and gave her an actual hen’s egg! Imagine her anger!
Easter is a healthy and enjoyable mix of tradition and fun and as I look at the little kids running helter-skelter to find eggs hidden in this lawn, with chocolate all over their face — I smile at God and this merry little world of his!