Eastern Orthodox Easter Sunday

Peace Corps / Sunday, April 15th, 2012

This morning I chose to wake up at 3:00 to stand outside for a little over an hour so a priest could dump some water on me. Why? Because it’s Orthodox Easter today and we had to get our food blessed. So we went here:


I did this last year and it makes me wonder why I did it this year. That’s early for me. But everyone else seemed to be doing it too, so I just went with it. Fortunately, Jeramie lives right across the street from the church so I didn’t have to make my usual twenty-minute trek to get there. We just had a sleepover.

Just like last year, the priest gave a brief mass (during which Jeramie and I both heard him say “milk and eggs” in Russian and we giggled because we didn’t really know why he said it, just like last year). Then he walked around the outside of the church with his entourage of incense guy, money collection guy, and guy holding a basin of holy water for him to repeatedly douse people with it. He blessed us, in essence. Just like last year, I was drenched.

Unlike last year, I was invited to Jeramie’s neighbors’ dacha (small house on a plot of land nearby where they grow and eat their vegetables) for Easter lunch. Jeramie and I made a pizza to bring (which is one of my families Easter traditions, or sometimes it’s calzone). There was a typical Ukrainian spread of food for a holiday. Jeramie’s neighbor tried starting the meal as Jeramie had taught her, by holding hands and saying a prayer but the others were not having it so we started the meal Ukrainian style, with a healthy shot of samagon (strong homemade vodka).

We didn’t get the memo, but apparently Cousin Nina wanted to make sure that I ate enough and didn’t get drunk (not sure where she got that idea from, honestly) and Jeramie was on duty to keep food on my plate. We laughed every time she was instructed to add some potatoes or salo (raw pig fat) to my plate. Eventually, Jeramie just started piling food on my plate for looks so when Cousin Nina looked over, she’d be happy. It didn’t work.

All in all, it was a great day (I forgot to mention that we went home and slept for a while after going to church in the wee hours of the morning). I’m happy I was included in the festivities.

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