Last Sunday Orthodox world celebrated Easter. Being Russian Orthodox by baptism I celebrated this holiday as well.
We celebrated Easter even living in the USSR where religion and religious holidays and traditions were criminal, prohibited, frowned upon, laughed at and eventually respected, instilled and followed (depending on the line of the government and ideology). However, our extended family celebrated Christmas and Easter no matter what.
What I remember from my childhood is painting eggs, backing Easter bread (kulichi) and having huge family lunch with lots of food, drink, egg-breaking and presents.
Having moved to Australia, we continued with our traditions and became even more attentive to them. We started attending church for big holidays and attending ‘blessing of kulichi’ became a MUST in our household.
We attended church to bless kulichi year after year. However, 2020 brought in new setting for Easter – distance blessing.
This new experience was as soulful as it was odd. Yes, we watched our priest going through the motions on the TV via Youtube streaming. Yes, we followed his praying and crossed ourselves in time. And yes, we sprinkled holy water on our offerings… DIY Easter, you might say. And it was.
Yes, it was untraditional. It was odd and trying.
This experience was new. This situation showed us and many more people across Melbourne and the whole world, that ‘all in our hands’, even vial with holy water. As my friend-priest said ‘it does not matter if the water is holy. God will extend his blessing regardless’.
This new experience was all about faith and hope, dreams and good wishes, love for one’s family and wanting the family to prosper and be healthy and happy.
We persevered no matter the conditions around us. The church embraced technology and did not let the services be interrupted by social distancing curfew. Families at home kept tradition going and modified the setting according to the restrictions and abilities.
Isn’t this the very essence and meaning of Easter – re-birth, resurrection, hope and faith in good and light…
We are all in this together…