Sunday, 5 May 2013

Paska, A Break-the-Fast Feast

Paska, Babka, Cheese and Butter, Ham, and Horseradish, and Kovbasa, Green Onions, and Beet-Horseradish, Eggs and Krashanky, and Pysanky!

s.l. 2013
Calgary's Orthodox Christians of Ukrainian ancestry, celebrated the miracle of Easter on May 5, 2013.  It is a most important church event.  After the ritual preparations, fasting and cleaning house, both internally and externally, bringing pussy willows to be sprinkled with Holy Water is a step towards the renewal of Easter.   The Easter Sunday Breakfast Feast is brought to church to be blessed in a basket, breads, cheese, meat, eggs, butter, salt and other items such as pysanky.  Each food item at the Breakfast Feast has layers of meaning. Enjoying this blessed meal is a way of perpetuating the family story, greeting those that came before us, and those that have yet to come, with the news that Christ has Risen.  Visiting the graves to sing the hymns of Easter reminds us that we are all facing the end of our lives. What next?  Is that all there is?  What on earth am I here for? 

I remember my grandmother making a very strange statement to me on the day I was married.  She said I had written myself into the family book.  Of course I had no clue what she meant.  After all these years, I am beginning to have an idea. But it takes a while for it all to sink in!

Maybe it takes repetition, repeated traditions, uncovering layer upon layer of meaning to figure out life?  And lots of moments of personal famine, periods of fasting, waiting, anticipation before the "what next" happens.  It is a wheel, and the journey takes many turns of the wheel - the uphill push and the downhill ease. 

The egg game is always fun,
the egg that stays whole wins,
and so does the person whose egg
is so tough enough to
win the day.  amk2013
The Easter message this spring is all about pruning, trimming off the parts that don't bear fruit, and hoping the new growth will prosper.  Surviving a long life without being pruned or trimmed off the tree of life must mean that the branch has born a lot of fruit - and prospered. And Calgary's Ukrainian community is just like that, too.  The branches that produce fruitful crops continue to take sustenance from the community that has ancestral connections.  And new arrivals to Calgary who want to retain connections with their ancestral roots cluster around the Ukrainian idea.  The idea that one can continue to have a toe-hold in Ukrainian things, worldwide, and live a life of economic prosperity elsewhere is unique. We are here, we are a force for good, our hopes are one.

A lot of Ukrainian Calgarians celebrated Easter today.

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