Monday, 5 April 2010

Happy Easter Celebrations

I would not call our household a devout Catholic house but we do celebrate many of the holidays as opportunities to gather and focus on the family and the extended family.  As a fusion household we have a blend of many family traditions and beliefs (orthodox, celtic, roman, wiccan, animism) together and celebrate the family and the season. I am known by the local parish priest as the submarine as I appear only occasionally in his flock.
While we do some Chocolate as part of Easter we also make other types of gifts.  We make up Nests.  The idea behind the nest is a bit like Xmas stockings where lots of little things are in for the recipient. We also have a Egg Tree where egg ornaments are displayed from previous Easter nest gifts.  This year for friends and family I have knitted Easter eggs and placed them in a small nest.
The whole Easter week has some significance as a family tradition starting on Palm Sunday.  This is an point when I take a deep breath to try and plan my week, working out what we have to do before a large family gathering during the next weekend.  Dependant on the local public holiday calendar and what options I have with work we try to start Easter with Holy Thursday as a time to organise and clean out the house in preparation for the weekend.  It think this our version of the old tradition of Spring Cleaning.    Ry this year was an alter server in the Cathedral for the Lundy Mass.  Her father was quiet proud of his daughter the altar server, so we had a good start to the Easter celebrations.
On Good Friday we are up early to have a vegetarian breakfast before dawn and the start of fasting.  We have things to do and we do a frantic spring clean of the house so that when we head off to Benediction we have have worked hard.  The last chore before heading to benediction for my grandmother would be to cover mirrors and photos.  These covered objects would remain covered until Sunday morning.  With tired bodies and a satisfying ache from hard work we attend Benediction and follow the Stations of the Cross.  After this period of reflection at church the family we spend the rest of the afternoon preparing our Easter egg wax designs and keeping the fast.  Dinner on Good Friday is normally Borscht and bread or Swiss Eggs, this year we had Thai butternut pumpkin curry soup.  In the evening of Good Friday I start the doings for Tsoureki and other yeast work such as hot cross buns.  
Saturday is always very busy for us as all the baking and the preparation for the celebration meal is done.   If there is enough time and we have the ingredients available I will make Easter Custard Tarts which are a real favourite for the Hubby.   The problem with the tarts is that they have a really low shelf life in this household. Hubby!! Get out of those tarts they were for tomorrow! - is an often heard phrase. While the baking is tootling away I prepare the Sunday roast by working the marinade into the roast.   This year I made a honey and lavender lamb roast. 
The spring cleaning process between Lundy and Good Friday church services to enable us to reflect about the change in seasons. Some of the eggs which are decorated on Friday are used for the smashing games on Sunday to help in the celebration of life and our family joy of being together.