Monday, April 24, 2006

Orthodox Easter!!

Luck, health, and anything else a person could wish for...its all mine!!!

atleast, according to a Bulgarian Easter tradition, that is.

Bulgarian Christians celebrate Christmas on the western calendar, but Easter according to the eastern calender. This year, easter fell one week after the western celebration, so I got to celebrate twice!

On the 24th, I took a city bus to go to my friend Ogi's house. She lives about 3 miles away, but a quick 15 minutes bus ride. Her family is mega cool, and they are pretty much my adopted family. They enjoy feeding me (i really like that too!), asking my questions about my work, my family, or america, and I like hanging out with them and getting little history lessons on the sly (Ogi's dad looooves to talk to me about communism. However, no one else in the family appreciates these stories- so he can only tell me about it when no one is looking!).

As soon as I got to their house, I was greeted by lunch, 3 puppies and an inviation to go to the famed mountain of "vitosha!" I was pretty pumped to say the least. They had been waiting for the weather to warm up so that they could show me this mountain, and Ogi's mom Nadia decided that we "should use the moment and the weather" for my initaition.

One old-school russian car ride later (oh yeah, there's a picture), we were breathing clean air and setting up a mini-picnic. We ate "kazanlak," which is a bread that is made only for easter. Back in the day, people made it at home, and it took ALL DAY LONG! we didn't eat "domashna"(homemade) kazanlak on the mountain, but it was still really fanstatic! Then the family brought out a basket of colored eggs. Now, as most americans have been dying eggs for generations, this doesn't seem to irregular. But here in bulgaria, instead of hiding the eggs, we SMASH them!

each family member takes an egg, and one by one, cracks their egg on someone else's. If your egg cracks- sorry! no health and luck for you- just a tasty runner-up prize. If your opponent's egg cracks, you advance to the next level to smash someone else's egg. Well, between pure luck and being a guest- I won! Provided that I guard this egg ALL YEAR LONG, its said that i will have a lot of luck this year. For the rest of the day, i was sort of suspecting that i'd break the egg doing something foolish- but 24 hours later- the egg is still intact!

The rest of the day was spent romping around in the mountains, snapping pictures, grabbing naps, and discussion books (nadia (ogi's mom) reads all the time and loves french and american authors) and exploring nature. Ogi's dad even made me eat grass. No joke. he picked it, ate some himself, and then gave me the rest as a mid-afternoon snack. now THAT is cross-cultural.

So all in all, it was pretty darned fantastic. the weather was gorgeous, the company was unbeatable, and my luck is only going to get better.

pretty cool easter, huh?


At 1:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Sis!

Did Jason tell you that his family does the egg thing as well? I got to try it for the first time during Easter at his house this year. Unfortunately, I was not as lucky as you. My egg made it through the first round but not the second, but at least it was tasty : ) Crazy how an Iowa family has a similar tradition!


At 6:05 PM, Blogger CarreraGT said...

It is really cool to read how some foreigners can be fascinated by the traditions you have followed all your life! Great story!
Just a tiny note: it's not really "kazanlak", actually the word is "kozunak". "Kazanlak" sounds like an English version of a city in South Bulgaria whoose name i cyrillic is "Казанлък" :)


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