This is the "Easter lawn" I was describing in my last entry. The eggs aren't in it yet but you get the idea. The YCAP group had an Easter presentation at school and invited me to talk about our customs in America. I started with the Biblical significance of the holiday and moved into a description of the Easter bunny and egg hunting. We have some nice deviled egg dishes in our family but I must admit that the green is a lovely display for colored eggs. All it takes is a few weeks of watering.
I wanted to include more photographs of the Easter events last week but I've been lending my camera to one of the 10th graders (they're fascinated with digital) and he deleted the pictures from Easter dinner and egg hitting. I'll try to describe the traditions in detail until I can figure out if he created a CD of the pictures that I can use.
On Saturday night at 5 p.m. the Easter celebration started in the village. They told me that Easter is celebrated from 5p.m. Saturday until 5 p.m. Sunday and when I asked about the women going to the empty tomb on Easter morning they told me that that's just when they found the tomb, Jesus had actually already risen the night before. So we had a party at home with just the family. We ate: fish, potatoes, fried greens and egg, fried lavash with rice and dried fruit, fresh tomatoes and cucumbers, cheese and cabbage salad. The highlight for the kids was the hitting eggs game where you hold your hard boiled egg in your hand and tap the top of the opponents egg. Whoever holds the broken egg loses. I lost at both ends and on two sides (Sargis had a particularly sturdy egg).
On Sunday I made the trip to Khor Virap and had Easter dinner with a family in a nearby village. The bus stopped outside of the village and together we walked for about an hour to the church. It was a nice walk and it was exciting to see everyone making their way towards the church. When we arrived it was packed and women were selling packets of candles on the side of the road. Traditionally you're not allowed to burn candles that you buy outside the church in the church, but it was Easter so maybe they didn't notice. There was a tightrope walker, lots of people walking around with live chickens and a small band playing music. This is the regular spectical though, as I remember the same entertainment being there the last time we visited the church for a wedding.
We entered the church and listened to part of the service. They insisted I cover my head with a children's baseball cap and we tried to stand patiently as people came and went, talked and took photos. We lit candles and then left after communion. After church we went back to the family's house and had the same meal plus BBQ. It was nice to spend the day with the family.
April 21-22 is Earth day and National & Global Youth Service Day (http://www.ysa.org/nysd/). I'm going to try to mobilize the YCAP group to clean up the field and plant trees where we hope to build the community playground. It's hard to believe that today marks nine months at site. Time flies when you're having fun...