I'm not sure why, but I was not expecting much for this Moldovan Easter. I was thinking it would be the same old gig, or the Moldovan gig I have accustomed to. I was wrong, and the simplicity in which I had so much fun caught me off guard. Moldovans celebrate Christ's rising by going to church at about 2am with a basket of food and themselves to be blessed with holy water around 5 in the morning. Or this was the case for me in my village. Although I did not go to sleep, the meeting of the majority of the village around the church was quite peaceful. Around the church we gathered, with breads, meats, eggs, cucumbers, tomatoes, and candy in our baskets. Illuminating the entire scene were the candles lit from within our baskets, often placed in yet to be baked sweet bread. After all us, along with our food, got splashed/blessed with holy water we made our way home. There we sleepily ate our blessed foods before going to bed around 6:30am.
When I woke up it was around 2:30pm. My host sister said "hey, get ready, we're going to the woods." I said "good," brushed my teeth, wet wiped the necessary body parts, drank a coffee, and dressed quickly. My host family and I met up with some neighbors and village friends and headed for the woods with a fully equipped picnic. There we lounged around, ate until stuffed, and most surprisingly played some Moldovan games with a ball while listening to some classic Eastern European techno and some traditional Moldovan music playing from a stereo speaker attached to the old BMW we arrived in.
It was simple and that is why it was so beautiful. All of us were in our true light, fully relaxed, joking and making fun of each other, and appreciating each other for who we are. This among hitting each other with a pretty hard ball made for a lot of laughing. It was awesome to see my host mom relaxed and laughing and dancing. The woman is one of the most hard working people I have ever seen, and deserves to hang out and relax. I also got to hang out with my neighbor Victor who is pretty cool. I think what I liked the most was how we were making jokes and I didn't feel uncomfortable doing so.
Sometimes I think that Moldovans have too many holidays, but you have to give them credit for actually celebrating them. In America for the most part a holiday equals a three day weekend. Here in Moldova it often makes for a three day weekend, or often enough even four, but these weekends come with obligatory gatherings and celebrations which simply put can be refreshing.
Oh, and another thing, I guess instead of saying "good day," I have to say, "Christ has risen" for 40 days. And if somebody says it to me I have to respond by saying "it's true, he has risen." You may not think that this is a big task, but in a village where you say "good day" to everybody that you pass, it can be a change of pace. Anyway, Easter was awesome, and I hope any of you all back home reading this had a good time too.