I attended a Passover potluck, which fell on Easter this year. I was in charge of pickled eggs - a childhood staple in my grandparents' house - and whole horseradish root. I wasn't sure what the horseradish was for, but was excited about the errand. In my family, horseradish is often used as a spread over Polish sausage, or Kielbasa. In the Jewish tradition, it is the bitter herb element of the seder plate representing the slavery the Hebrews endured. Pork is not kosher (though someone did bring pulled).
The pickled eggs failed. I had hoped to pickle them myself but had lost the time. Instead, I searched for them, but not in the right places, and the one right place closed for Easter.
You can understand my confusion and curiosity in all of this.
As Easter is often celebrated with more Pagan traditions, I asked the host if I could bring Easter eggs to Passover. The answer was a resounding yes.
I hard-boiled eggs, dyed them green and yellow and pink and purple and blue. Folks were curious about why they are not hollow and if a game of tapping them against one another to break them is played, as in the Orthodox Christian tradition. It is not. Catholics hide them and hope they are found on Easter morning.
The Saturday before Easter, I walked to my neighborhood coffee shop and there, on the counter, was a pile of hard-boiled eggs wrapped in intricate Eastern European design. The tradition of the Orthodox eggs is that they are dyed red to represent the blood of Christ, or hand-painted in detail.
Maybe, I think, what I am most interested in is the eggs. The symbolism of life and birth decorated and displayed in a myriad of patterns to celebrate what can be overcome and what can be re-given across cultures and traditions.
Across the street from where I am sitting on my porch there are plastic eggs hanging from a tree. They look like flowers. They look like the lanterns hanging from the ceiling in the Buddhist Temple.
They look like the Pagan goddess, Ester, and what is fertile and maternal in this world.
In the theme of care-taking of others and of care-taking of one's self, here is a photo of St. Seraphim of Sarov in the Eastern Orthodox tradition.
This icon of the startsy, or elder: outside his hermitage in the Russian woods, feeding a bear.
Be sure to keep feeding your bears.
|"Acquire a peaceful spirit, and thousands around you will be saved."|