Friday, 3 April 2015

Easter is here!

--- What do we celebrate on Easter?
The bunny! Some would say. :D
Well, no, not only at least. It's a religious feast. We are celebrating the Resurrection of Jesus who died for our sins.
I am not going to keep a lesson about this, what I'll do instead, is writing about some traditions we have in my country, Romania.
In here, England, people give chocolate eggs/bunnies one to each other, mostly to children.

Not in my country, but we are starting to adopt these customs, so, no worries: we are all the same. :D
As I said, it's a religious feast, the most crucial, and people started 37 days ago (can't count now which day exactly :D) to prepare their body and soul for this.
---- How?
Well, it depends on what "cult" are you. Cleaning the soul is confession of your sins, regret them and promise you won't do them again, until next time, and again... again... again. :D
This is the most significant "duty" a Christian has in this period. It's almost "compulsory", if you are a true believer.

This period is called LENT (as Oliver, my personal teacher who corrects, from time to time my mistakes, just let me know in a puzzle). I thought is called Quarantine or Quadragesima, anyway, you got what I mean.
If you are catholic, you didn't eat any meat on Fridays (Tuesdays or Wednesdays either, depending on how much you are interested in being forgiven for your sins. :p) Some people won't eat anything for some days. Full abstention from food....
Time ago, it was prohibited to eat meat during all these 40 days, but because times had changed and people stopped listened to absurd demonstrations of faith, the Church decided to give humans a break. We embraced this "favour" with both arms. :D

Catholics go to church every day (even twice per day), but in this period, the celebrations have a supreme meaning/tone.
In particular, the 3 days before Easter are full of pain and regrets.
These 3 days represent the time Jesus spent in the grave.
On Saturday night it takes place the most meaningful mass from this period. Of course, is because of the Resurrection joy. The defeat of Death and the Glory of Jesus. Joy carols everywhere.

If you are Orthodox, well, with these Christians, things are much more serious.
No meat WHATSOEVER for 40 days! No eggs, nothing made with milk, no fish (except 2 special days which I can't reckon now), no sweets, no nothing. Just potatoes, beans = vegetables. Not even oil! Yep, you heard me, no oil.
Many days with NO FOOD at all, no drinking, no swear words, the intercourses between husband and wife are restricted for all 40 days.... Well, this is prohibited in any way so... whatever. ------- "Black lent" I would call it. After all these abstinence days you should go directly into HEAVENS, in my opinion. :D -------

The way I see this NO MEAT/no sweets or no food thing, it's a very positive one to be honest. You could take it as a detoxification diet and what could be more awesome than going to heavens with a cleaned body and soul????!!! Think about it! :D

Unfortunately, everything ends in blood. Not joking. In Romania, but not only, lamb are killed and cooked in many different ways. It's one of Christian traditions, symbolising the sacrifices God asks from people. Trust me, you don't want to go deeper into this.
--- Just LEAVE IT, don't think about it. Pretend you didn't read anything like that. 
Still, don't be too hypocrite, most of us eat meat everyday. Killing a lamb is no different than killing a pig.
Ending in blood was more a metaphor, of course, I was trying to say that when all this Lent period is over, people will start eating everything they didn't for 40 days. And this is not a good thing. Not at all. But it's not a diet post this one. :D

We cook many savoury dishes: the most famous (except the lamb) is made with meat, rice, onion, etc, all wrapped in cabbage/ grapes leafs (sarmale).
And if you cook them in ceramic saucepans in a some kind of old stove with wood, it's just the most ambrosial food you could taste in your life. No, not every Romanian cook these delicatessen in a traditional stove. Just a few.

Another tradition is to cook sweets. Orthodox have a sweet made from whole grain, honey, nuts, etc; a pudding called COLIVA (there is no translation in English for this). Personally, I associate this very healthy and tasty sweet, with the death of a person (traditionally made for this reason) so, it doesn't result very appealing for me. Never tried the original (not brave enough), but I have some personal recipes on my blog (click, if you are interested).

One of my favourite sweet is the one in images. Baked in antique stoves. COZONAC. I don't think you ever tried anything like that in your life. It's one of the best sweet bread EVER. Full of different flavours: nuts, eggs, vanilla, cacao, chocolate, sultana, milk, poppy seeds. It's DIVINE!

We bake and cook different type of food, but on Easter, the most important tradition is to colour eggs in red. BOILED eggs.
The red colour symbolize the blood spelled by Jesus when he was walking towards Golgotha hill to be crucified. The crown of thorns put on his head made him bleed very heavily, as the arrow in his heart, etc.

Another important tradition is a sweet made from cheese (sweet cheese) with sultana, vanilla, cream, etc, called
Pasca in Romanian. There is no translation for this either, but it simply means Easter. Basically it's a cheese cake, Romanian style.
I like all this traditions and I am very close to them. One reason I started my recipe blog.

Easter is also celebrated by Jewish, but for them has a complete different meaning. Exodus, Egypt, we all know the story, if not, click here. Jesus is not born yet.

As for me, in England... this year, I will only be going to church. Not the same in here. I can't celebrate the bunny and can't be happy with chocolate eggs. But I will adapt and I will survive.
Ps. Bought some lamb. Honestly, I don't like, at all. It's very popular in here, so I would rather start adapting.

I almost forgot: Easter is not celebrated on the same day by Catholics and Orthodox. It happens from time to time, but not very often. These two religions don't follow/share the same calendar.
Romania is mostly Orthodox, for this reason only they got to have a free day during this feast. :D
This year they celebrate Easter one week later.

I wish to all of you a great mini holiday and Happy Easter!

Ps. 2 If you enjoyed what you read, you could "like" my Facebook page or leave a short/long comment. Thank you.

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