This(ese) Easter(s), I realized that I have become more “racist” than I really am, or at least paid more attention to religion than I usually do. Maybe it is because Western and Eastern Easter Holidays usually coincide and we don’t have to ask too many questions.
But this year, people were more sensitive than ever to the timing of your greeting. You couldn’t wish them a Happy Easter when it was their Palm Sunday. You had to get the timings perfectly right, and I was slightly confused.
As a child and growing up a bit, Easter to me was all about going to Teta to dye the eggs and have a massacre cracking them. More importantly, it was about running away from the Easter bunny. That is not me because I couldn’t find my picture. But it could have been easily me, ask my kindergarten teacher.
So this time around, I started all my conversations over the past 2 weeks with, “Are you Roum or Maronite/Catholic?” (Also learned the Maronite, Catholic story. Thank you Clairi!)
Although I really don’t give much attention or care to these things, I didn’t want to piss anyone off! And the truth remains that I did learn a lot about Easter and especially how the Lebanese celebrate it.
1. “Al Masih Kam” should be followed by “7akkan kam”. Although I had heard that expression a million times, I did not know that I was supposed to finish it. So when someone said to me (out of all people) “Al Masih Kam” I would simply smile at them and say something like yup! he did! So when a friend at work explained to me what I should answer, I realized that I might have insulted many. And I am sorry for that. “Al masih kam, 7akkan kam”
2. The weather. It has everything to do with religion. Are you crazy?! It is an important testament of which party God prefers. But it is a tricky one here, it should rain on Friday and be full of sunshine by Sunday. Does this mean that God approves Eastern Good Friday, and Western Easter Sunday? I am seriously still confused, but thankful that this week is going to be sunny.
3. Palm Sunday. Sha3nine. So I can now say that I know the meaning of this date in Christianity. But what I do not understand is why get dressed like you are going to a wedding, and styled by a melange of Madonna and Clauda El Chemaly. Beats me.
4. The kids. I cannot say anything about the kids that get cuter with all their outfits and candles. I can’t help it. But a small tip to parents; simplicity is also key. There are many cute kids outfits that don’t weigh over 2 kgs. Ya madame haida el festan el rouge mish maz7a!
I am sharing the below Jackie in mantilla veil heading to church (if pinterest is correct), with no attempt at being patronizing, but just as a reference of classiness.
4. The Maamoul. Yes please! Bring it on because my mother promised we can be either Maronite or Roum this Easter and simply decided she was too tired to do any. And the funny thing with maamoul is that none of my friends got a chance to eat them on time. Somehow all mother baked them a bit earlier while everyone was fasting. Well done mothers!
5. Which brings me to fasting. Everyone dropped something from their diet and it was impossible to organize a lunch or a dinner. Someone wasn’t eating any meat, and the other no bread, and one of my friends also dropped all tomatoes. I really have no idea why. But to be honest here, I can accept his type of fasting because it gives you discipline and sacrifice without being too over-dramatic. God doesn’t want you to punish yourself but simply show you that you can give up a few things that you thought you couldn’t live without.
6. The Eggs. I have to admit that for the first time I have actually researched the meaning of Easter eggs and for those who did not know, it is a symbol of resurrection, “as when they are cracked open, they stand for the empty tomb”. (please if this is not true, someone correct me, the internet doesn’t know it all). But leave it to the Lebanese to crack the endless egg jokes (see what I did there), overly decorate their eggs and take the tournaments seriously. I highly doubt that the colored egg you pick out of a basket reflects your manhood. But okay. Enjoy it.
7. The drama between the sects. I know we all enjoyed the separated Easters and thus more days off. But .. but .. but..! People we need to relax! God loves you all. No one is right and no one is wrong. If you are expressing something you believe in, good for you. Bs la shu el sam. We all know that God isn’t roum or catholic (maybe druze..) but most certainly, without a religion because whoever you are worshiping, everyone else is. I promise you that!
Happy Easter Everyone.