Easter is the most important Christian holiday.
Maundy Thursday and Good Friday are marked by the Holy Sepulchre.
On Maundy Thursday the church bells ‘fall silent’ until Holy Saturday.
Good Friday is a strict fasting day and the only day of the year without a celebration of holy mess. On this day Christians commemorate the suffering and the death on the cross of Jesus Christ.
Holy Saturday is marked by the blessing of fire, water and Easter dishes. Early in the morning the priests bless fire and water, which people take home to bless their homes. On blessed Easter fire, house wives prepare Easter dishes. The priests come to the villages to conduct the blessing of the Easter dishes which housewives and girls bring in big baskets.
The Easter dishes have a special symbolism:
• Ham represents the body of Christ.
• Horseradish represents the nails with which Christ was crucified on a cross.
• Easter eggs symbolize the blood drops of Christ’s resurrection, but also re-creation and hope. They also symbolize shelter and safety.
• Walnut roll (potica, a walnut cake) – its form resembles a crown of thorns.
• Bread represents life and is a sign of God’s goodness and human work.
‘Great’ Sunday or Easter Sunday is a big and beautiful family holiday. After the early morning Holy mass, the whole family settle around the table and start eating blessed Easter dishes.
Old custom: On Easter Sunday people should be dressed in new clothes. If they had little money, then at least the socks should be new. Therefore the habit, that people wear their best clothes for Sunday Holy Mass.
Easter Monday is a public holiday and we celebrate it with family and friends. It has little religious significance. It is more an occasion for various family customs and a day for rest.
Comenius Easter project activities:
- Marija Gotar and her children in the afternoon care visited an old villager and watched him at preparing and baking holy ‘hosts’ or wafers which are, in Moravče region, an integral part of traditional Easter breakfast and need to be blessed on Easter Saturday.
- With the assistance of grandmothers and women from Moravče handicraft section they produced green Easter palms. They also visited a lady who produces Easter palms out of wood shavings.
- With the help of Moravče handicraft women the children baked Easter bread and produced their own Easter ‘birds’.
- They also coloured Easter eggs in a traditional way. First they collected a variety of green leaves for decoration. They carefully put them on raw eggs. The eggs were then tightly wrapped in nylon. Then they were placed in water with red onion peelings and cooked for eight minutes. Still hot they needed to be ‘undressed’ and their beautiful prints of leaves shined in front of children’s proud eyes.
- Children in the extended stay produced Easter ornaments, which were exhibited in a showcase in the school hall.
- The blessing of Easter food.
(C) Andreja Vavpetič & Zdenka Wicher