Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Orthodox Easter

Hristos a înviat!

This weekend was filled with food and traditions, as it was Easter in Moldova. 

I left work on Friday around noon - the rest of the office had been cleaning up and painting outside the building, which I'm not sure why I wasn't asked to help with, but if I had known what they were doing, I would have - and was told not to come back until Tuesday. 

What, does Easter really take that long? Oh yes, it does.

My host mom started cooking on Friday.

On Saturday, we cleaned the entire house. (Maybe we just cleaned my room and the entryway and it just seemed like it took forever..) We took out the carpet and vacuumed and "mopped" the floors (mopping here meaning bending over with a rag and a bucket of soapy water - they could be on the next "real people" Swiffer commercial, I swear), and I reorganized everything while dusting it all off. It was a beautiful day and the sun made it more bearable to be cleaning for hours.

Later that day I was called downstairs to find my host mom making Блинчики (which sounds to me like blinch-ki and which I used to call clatite until I got to my village where they prefer the Russian). I was excited because A. I love those, and B. I know how to "make them." I have never made the crepe part, which admittedly is kind of the whole thing, but I've watched it enough that I'm sure I could, if given the recipe. I helped her with cooling and stacking the crepes and she told me I could fill them with fruit later. Which I did! I filled them with strawberries and cherries. She made cream to put on top of them, but that didn't really end up working so well, so next time we're going to melt ice cream to put on top (WHAAAAAT) - next time being this upcoming weekend, I think!

The "blinchki" process

She made tons of food Friday and Saturday, including boiled eggs that she dyed red.

There was a sunrise service and food blessing at the church way early in the morning, but I have not known her to go to church in 8 months, so we did not attend that. Nevertheless, there was knocking on my door around 9am to eat, which I thought was extraordinarily too early for a Sunday/for a huge meal. Did not matter what I thought, as the table was more full than I've ever seen it, and for only 3 of us. 

Champagne, fruit, blinchki, potato salad, eggs, chocolate cake, racituri, multiple kinds of meat, fish, etc..

She put on a kerchief and we all stood up for the prayer, where she thanked God for the meal and for our health and for a lot of other things. She had said the night before that the first thing we had to do (after the prayer, I assume) was play a game with the eggs, but it didn't end up being the first thing we did, so I hope we're okay with that. 

Pasca, traditional sweet bread for Easter - ours was store-bought but AMAZING

We had a champagne toast and then set to eating more food than I've probably eaten in the last month. We did play the egg game: two people take an egg and hit them together - whoever's egg cracks is going to die first. This is how she explained it to me; I might have gone with "whoever's egg doesn't crack is going to live longer," but, whatever. Then we each had to eat an egg. Oh, and I'm going to die first, which she thought was hilarious. 

We also had to have a jug of wine to symbolize the blood of Jesus. So after the two hour masa, I had to take a nap.

I woke up and ate again, at my host mom's insistence, which was then confusing, because we went to visit one of her friends (and then a second), and obviously they had a table full of food they wanted us to eat, too. I feel as though she sabotaged me, making me eat right before we went to more food and Moldovan women who try to make you eat everything (We can't NOT eat another Easter egg, because it's Easter!). I also think she might know some egg secrets because she won that game again with another person.. Proof that she'll outlive us all.. 

We stayed out much later than I would have liked, and I met a CHARMER who toasted to me: "La mulți ani, la mulți bani, și un moldovan!" (To many years, much money, and a Moldovan man.) Then he drunkenly, regrettably said that he would like to be that man, were it not for his wife sitting right next to him, who he loves very much. I don't know if everyone ignored just this or if they ignored him the whole time, but he would not be ignored by me. 

In the village, when I walk down the road, I greet people with "Good morning!" or "Good day!" depending on what time it is. After Easter, for the next 40 days, I will not say that. Before Easter, I was told that I would have to remember two new phrases - a greeting and a reply. I thought, oh no, I can never do that! Turns out that once I knew what I was supposed to say, it was easy to remember. Instead of my usual greeting, I must say "Hristos a înviat!" and if I don't get to the person first and they say that to me, my reply is "Adevărat, a înviat!" These mean, "Christ has risen!" and in response, "Truly, He has risen!" As we walked down to visit my host mom's friends, families were out on the roads in nice dresses, smiling and greeting each other with Hristos a înviat! and having such a great time with each other. I obviously enjoyed eating tons of good food and drinking champagne at 10am, but watching that was my favorite part of the day. 

We stayed home Monday and we are still eating delicious leftovers on Tuesday. Next weekend is Memorial Easter, so stay tuned for that adventure. 

Adevărat, a înviat.

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