I may be biased, but I don’t remember one rainy Easter Sunday during my childhood. But then again, accuracy is not what I’m striving for at the moment. I remember sunny Easter mornings when tree buds were covering the fruit trees like a green veil bearing the promise of sweetness. I remember that my sister and I would always get a new outfit, dress and shoes, for Easter. It was a time of renewal, although no one called it that and it almost sounds pretentious to do so now, but it really felt like it. My favourite dress ever was one with an orange and white plaid pattern, a row of decorative orange buttons, and a white lace collar. My sister had a matching one and although matching outfits were the apple of discord most times, this one was not it because we both loved it a lot.
Early on Easter morning, and I mean early, think 4am or so, we would wake up and walk to church with my mom. I was sleepy, but I knew that sleepiness was to be fought because the day was too important for such trivial issues. I have to admit, the sermon was boring. And long. Truth. When you’re a kid that’s the way it goes, but saying anything was not in the cards. It was one of those feats of strength that kids go through simply because it is expected of them and yes, you could say it was a matter of pride too. It was part of the Easter ritual. I felt like I was earning the Easter breakfast and all the goodies to follow, including the sweets left behind by the Easter bunny. By 6 or 7am the Easter service was done, everyone was greeting everyone with the special resurrection greetings “Hristos a inviat” (Christ is risen) and “Adevarat a inviat” (Truly He is risen) and making their way home wrapped in sleepy morning sunlight. Dyed eggs, radishes and green onions – first of the season, a special kind of cheese which I believe is made only in Transylvania, lamb-derived delicatessen that were eaten only at Easter, the breakfast was a most special one. My grandmother dyed the eggs with onion peels and they turned a beautiful dark amber colour. Many had leaf impressions on them and I always had a slight feeling of regret when it was time to eat them. But then I knew they’ll be back next year.
Now it’s my turn to dye eggs with onion peels. I make leaf impressions on them too by choosing the most exquisite-shaped leaves from the garden, and my boys think they are simply beautiful. I will take my boys to church all dressed up in new shirts and they will most likely say “But Mom, this is going to be so long and boring.” And I agree yet at the same time I tell them that there is meaning behind the words and there is a story in there too. The highlight of the service is the symphony of lit candles and the fact that I let each of them hold a lit candle, and that is treated with utmost importance, if one overlooks the occasional desire to play with the blue-yellow flame while pretending they are torches one can march with. Frowning from the elderly and approving looks from the other kids are also part of the ritual. When my youngest summed up the importance of Easter by saying “It is special because it shows that God survives” I figured he got the gist of it.
The Easter bunny will bring them sweets, and then we’ll have onion peeled-dyed eggs served from a grass-filled small basket, green onions, red radishes and cheese for breakfast. We’ll have an egg-knocking competition to see whose egg is the strongest and we’ll say countless “Hristos a inviat!” and they’ll feel sorry for peeling off the eggs with their beautiful leaf impressions, but by now they know they’ll have them back next year. And the years after.
They said on the news that it might tomorrow. Yet somehow I have the feeling that my boys will remember all of their childhood Easter Sundays as being sunny. Which makes me think that it is not the actual sun that makes Easter day bright, and that memorable sparkle comes from all the other things. Just the way it should be.