As a child I used to love Easter. Basically, the Easter Bunny was way cooler than Santa Claus, just because whatever gifts Santa wasn’t able to bring, the awesome Bunny could (and he always brought Kinder Surprise Eggs as well!). So, I’m just going to explain some things. This Sunday, on the 12th of April, the orthodox church celebrates Easter. It is very important in Romania, because the majority of the population is orthodox.
Actually, I’m not going to explain all the religious terms, I’m just going to portray Easter as I remember it from when I was a kid.
I was about five years old and I can still remember my uncle coming home from church exactly a week before Easter. He used to bring me a bouquet of the fluffiest looking flowers (and I’m not joking). They were my favourite flowers as I was growing up, until I actually learned they were willow tree branches given on Palm Sunday. I suppose not knowing the actually meaning of them made them more mysterious and magical. Palm Sunday, in Romanian would be Duminica de Florii – this is derived from Flowers – Flori (sg.). The tradition on that particular day is that you celebrate all the people with names that are similar to flowers, one example would be Florina (see the resemblance?). On this day you call or text the person with a “flower name” and say La mulţi ani (Happy Birthday/Name Anniversary).
My grandma told me that whenever the dandelion bloomed, it was a sign that Easter was near and this kinda got stuck in my head and every year right before Easter I look for them, just to remember how it felt when I was a child.
Thursday, before Easter, the tradition implies getting the Red Easter Eggs ready. Throughout time and in various parts of the country, this tradition has evolved and got a very artistic meaning. I’m going to explain now. Because Romanians love everything that’s beautiful, this Egg decoration day became something more. It is an activity that brings all the family together and everyone is involved in creating the most perfect egg (you boil the chicken eggs and then paint them).
The term we use is “încondeierea ouălor” – basically egg decoration, if you translate it word by word. Here are some photos of how some of them look when they are finished.
Tell me you wouldn’t want to see that on your table on Easter morning! It is heartbreaking that you actually have to eat them, isn’t it?
The night before Easter, the kids would gather fresh grass and make little nests where the Easter Bunny would drop gifts, sweets and coloured eggs. This was our favourite activity, just because we were trying to make the perfect one, and we also left small carrots to make the little bunny happy!
If we were good enough, a baby rabbit would stay to play with us for a few weeks… and we were always “good enough”… I suppose it was a good exercise, because we really loved taking care of the tinny animal and it was great to see it grow right in front of our eyes.
What my mom always made for Easter morning was a meatloaf with lamb, pork or chicken and different fresh spices, wild garlic and spring onions. It is absolutely delicious! Hopefully we get some later this year, because we won’t be in Timişoara for Easter…
My family is half catholic, half orthodox, so we always celebrate both Easters. It is actually very nice to see both traditions and see how differently things might be interpreted. But, in the end, this should just be a celebration that brings the family together!
It should be a time of reconciliation with yourself and the ones around you… so, I wish you all a Happy Easter and may the Easter Bunny bring you joy and love!