22 April 2011

Easter traditions

Easter is my favorite holiday of the year. I love that it doesn't have the stress of Christmas gift-giving and the full-out retail/consumerism associated with that, so instead you can really get your knees down to the ground in prayer.  This is only the second Easter that B and I have spent together (and first one married), so we're still reconciling our traditions together.  Apparently I need to initiate an egg-cracking contest, which I'd never heard of before but sounds fun!

The good thing is that both B and I are Catholic so all the churchy traditions are already set.  Lent actually ended yesterday, and I found myself in the comfort of Holy Thursday mass.  Today is now one of fasting and abstaining from meat.  Tomorrow night B and I will go to the "Great Easter Vigil" mass, which is notoriously beautiful and notoriously LONG.  Catholics like their mass to be at that 1-hour mark, but this mass usually goes at least 2 and a half, and it doesn't start until after 8 (it has to be dark out).  The length is thanks to 7+ readings and also the privilege to welcome adults into Baptism and full Communion with the Church.  Our priest here said if you can sit through a 4-hour SuperBowl game, then stop whining and come see the "SuperMass."

Since moving away from GA, my mom and I have a tradition of calling each other when our respective Vigil masses get out and comparing notes on length, how many people were baptized, and whether there was a sung version of the Exodus reading about Moses parting the Red Sea.  I've never seen it danced before, and it's making me uncomfortable just to watch this, but here's the song I'm talking about:

My church back in GA speeds the tempo up and the cantor makes it sound a bit more like a gospel hymn than a Jewish lilt, but whatever.  I'm not sure what we're in store for here at our new church, and I think my mom's gonna have my head if I call her afterward since we're a time zone behind now.

When I was growing up, my family always visited our extended family in West Point, GA (on the GA-AL line above Columbus).  This was the only West Point that existed to me until I learned about the Army school in NY later in life.  My dad has "cousins by the dozens," and most of them congregate in West Point on Easter Sunday.  Now, my dad's family is 100% Lebanese, but this side of the family is also ridiculously Southern because all of them were born down here, so the Easter potluck always has the oddest combination of food!  Although I didn't think it was too odd when I was younger; it was just Easter food.  Here's what I mean:
This looks like normal Easter Sunday potluck fare, but let's examine further
This is kibbeh, or what I call "Lebanese hamburger."  It's beef (sometimes lamb), cracked wheat, and pine nuts.  Yum!
My family doesn't call this by the Lebanese name, just "stuffed grape leaves."  My name: Lebanese burrito.  Not a fan.
Wouldn't be a Southern Easter without fried chicken, right?  No Lebanese name for that!
My momma's strawberry cake looks a LOT better than my own.  I need to pack on the icing this year!

Unfortunately, B won't be experiencing his first "Big Fat Southern Lebanese Easter" this year, as we're still over four hours away from West Point here in Pensacola.  But we were invited to a big Southern cookout by some locals we know from church, so he'll get a slight taste of it!

Oh, and I forgot to mention that the Easter Bunny still makes a visit!  And he always hides the basket behind somewhere around the house (usually behind a curtain).  B thinks he's too old for an Easter basket, but he's forgetting that the Easter Bunny will be filling his basket with a bottle or two of beer, a small thing of Bailey's, granola bars, and lots of chocolate!  How can you be too old for that?

Happy Easter, everyone!


  1. Wow. I am Catholic, but I have never celebrated Easter with that much food. JEALOUS! This is the first year I will be with out my mother, and the first with my husband. We're definitely keeping it low key.

    Happy Good Friday, and early Easter!

  2. mmmm now I want kibbeh! I don't like grape leaves though...hubby LOVES them!

  3. I love Easter as well! One of our family traditions is the blessed Easter basket, which we eat for breakfast. Easter breakfast is the best! Also Mr doesn't like Easter baskets either, I made one once then never again. I did however send him an Easter care package this year. :)

  4. Happy Easter!

    I LOVE stuffed grape leaves:) So yummy! That's quite the spread!

  5. Fun! We also have a lot of Lebanese food at our Easter!! I can never bring myself to eat the Kibbeh because we always have it in ball form like a meatball...maybe this year I will try the lift though! :) And if there is fattoush nobody better get in my way; I LOVE that! Looks yummy hope you have a great Easter!

  6. "Liturgical" dancing in Mass makes me cringe. Blah. LOL. But the photos of the food definitely make up for it.

  7. Happy Easter! He is Risen! :D

    Thanks for posting about your Easter traditions. I have a similar post, well, it's sort of related anyway, in the works . . . hopefully I'll have it posted soon. I keep running into writer's block.

    And thank you for posting the song - I had never heard it before and I enjoyed it. I didn't watch the video, I just listened to the words. I happen to be (or starting to become anyway) one of those Protestants that thinks Protestants and Catholics and Jews have so much to learn from each other. I have started attending Catholic and Lutheran traditional teachings/liturgies/etc in the past year and I am learning quite a bit that I haven't learned through Protestant teaching. (Not that Lutheran isn't protestant, I do think they lean towards Catholicism though, more so than other protestant denominations anyway.)

    I hope you have a very blessed Easter! :)