Sunday, April 4, 2010
Easter is a big celebration in Cyprus!
My ex-Mother-in-law would make Flaounes which are a cheesy muffin mixture with raisins in a parcel of pastry. I used to help her make them in the early days of being married.
Easter in Cyprus and for Greeks and Greek Cypriots abroad is about family. It is about food and it is about Church. You have to go to church on Good Friday and you definitely have to go at midnight on Saturday, where the Greek Orthodox Religion celebrate that 'Christ has Risen' at just passed midnight.
The Churches are always full and the crowds spill into the streets. The weather can be unpredictable in April, but it is comfortable to stand outside. The atmosphere is electric, especially when everyone is holding their lit candle. I imagine Jesus looking down from above, can see a sea of light, in his honor.
But, for me, Easter is also about Mum, me and the kids. Mum would take time off work and I would pick her up on Good Friday and along with the kids we'd visit all the Churches and kiss the icons and walk under the beautifully flower-decorated symbolic pyres.
It was something Mum wanted to do, I just went along with it, just to make her happy. I didn't really believe or understand the meaning of what was going on.
This Good Friday, I took my little girl to the Greek Orthodox Church here in Birmingham. My son wouldn't go. I felt very upset and guilty that I have not been able to carry on the traditions. I feel like I have let Mum down.
I don't know any Greek Cypriots here, everyone was with friends and family. I felt very lost and vulnerable. What were we supposed to do? I couldn't remember, Who should I ask? I felt so overcome with emotion, that I just wanted to run out. My partner asked me to stay a little while longer and just see if I felt better. I felt worse.
It is not about tradition, it is not about Church, it is about Family. It is about Mum, it is about things we did together, that were important to her, and I'm trying to hold on without knowing what to hold on to.
We left half an hour later. I decided that Easter from now on is about my family. Of course I will keep traditions, but only ones I understand, and am able to explain to my kids.
Christ Has Risen, Mum!
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