Monday, April 09, 2007

Orthodox Party Animals

I'm still pooped out from my very first Pascha. It was glorious, joyous, beautiful, and long. And in the middle of the night.

I loved the procession, singing and holding candles. Everyone looks so lovely in candle light. Sleepy little children resting their heads on their father's shoulders are especially delightful. Then excitement fills the air as the priest starts banging on the doors of the church. And I can't even remember what he was saying, I wish I did, but it was so exciting. And as the doors opened at midnight, there were the lights, and the triumphant singing and bells. The bells were back from their Lenten silence. Hearty shouts of "Christ is risen! Truly He is risen!" filled the church, and in different languages. The deacon and priest seemed unable to contain their joy as they shouted up and down the aisle. And I thought, THIS is how a celebration of Christ's resurrection should be. I've never experienced any thing like it.

We made it through the Liturgy, sleepy Hannah getting a bit crabby, but we managed, and I figured, who am I to think this could be a little shorter? My Lord has risen, and trampled down death by death, I can surely worship Him for a couple hours in the middle of the night.

And then the feast, OH the FEAST. There were meats of all types, pizza, pastas with all kinds of cheesy goodness, cakes and cookies, Guinness, Guinness, and more Guinness. Is Guinness the official beer of Orthodox Christians? My theory is that Guinness, being the thick, stew-like beer that it is pleases the palates of the Orthodox who's faith, like the beer, is thick and complex. Either way, our feast at 3am was enjoyable, full of laughs, and our little girl seemed to be having a great time too, being fed sweets and other treats, the hour didn't seem to matter.

At about 4:30 am, sleepiness hit me like brick wall. I elbowed Jason a few times, letting him know his ride home was going to turn into a pumpkin if we didn't leave soon. We finally got home at 5:30 in the morning. We slept and slept all day yesterday, making sure to not leave the house. I was really glad we hadn't made any plans for the day, as strange as it was yesterday to not go anywhere on Easter Sunday. Our neighbors were probably scratching their heads, as to why their most church going-est neighbors never left the house on such a day. Little do they know, we are learning from Orthodox Christians how to really party for the Feast of all Feasts.

Christ is Risen!


Blogger Munkee said...

Ha! Great account of your first Pascha!

Though, I must disagree with you on one point, while Guinness is never frowned upon in Orthodox circles, I honestly find it far too boring an ale to be considered official Orthodox. Certainly, something much more wild, intense, definitely with a higher alcohol content that you sip slowly and patiently would make more sense as an Official Orthodox Ale.

Unfortunately, many at our parish were sipping domestic beers the names of which we shall not mention in public. :(

Christ is Risen!

2:28 PM  
Blogger Bluecanopy said...

Christ is Risen!

"THIS is how a celebration of Christ's resurrection should be."

...well said. Happy Bright Week to you! Let's get together before the babies come....

2:40 PM  
Blogger annie said...

Indeed, He is Risen!
So nice to hear you account of Pascha. It really is glorious, isn't it!
The alchohol issue made me laugh.. Part of the reason we stayed SO very late at our feast was to allow Evan to enjoy his large, dark, russian ale. Every last sip.. after all, it's been blessed.
We are still recovering from the lack of sleep, but are still giddy with joy from the wonderful celebrations.

4:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Christ is Risen!!

I also celebrated my first Pascha, but as a Newly Illumined! Yes, we are finally officially Orthodox! I can't even believe it.

I'm glad that we were able to celebrate "together" though not in the same location.

6:42 AM  
Blogger Bea said...

I loved this post about your Easter celebration, it captured the joy that I should be feeling that Christ is risen...Being so busy with a new baby the joy of the season got lost in all the shuffle, I needed this. Thanks!

6:52 AM  
Blogger Thomas Ham said...

alithos anesti! i wish my brother and his girlfriend were as appreciative of the joy that the Church has on Pascha!

9:02 PM  
Blogger Rebeca said...

This was our first Pascha too and it was incredible. I am already looking forward to next year. I told my husband that Holy Week and Pascha were the clincher for me. Even though we became catechumens a few months ago this really sealed my commitment to become Orthodox. I guess a Church who's taken hundreds of years to develop their celebration of the Lord's death and resurrection should know how to do it- and they certainly do!
Christ is Risen!

7:52 AM  
Blogger Lauren S. said...

Aaron, thank you for that clarification - you are right about the beer. Jason and I were cracking up at your comment. :)

Sara - I'm emailing you...

Michele - Congratulations on being newly illumined. How exciting! God willing we will be received next Pascha.

Annie - glad you are still giddy. We are too, and I told Jason that, with all the fatty food back in the house, I'll probably be blowing up like a balloon just from this week! :)

Bea - thanks for stopping by my blog!

Thomas - well, it was a really long service. I think if I came without much investment into the Orthodox Church, I would have been much more antsy and cranky - and probably wouldn't have enjoyed it nearly as much.

Rebeca - I'm so with you on that!

Happy Bright Week to all!

9:08 AM  
Blogger Simply Victoria said...

ahh. the first pascha. believe it or not, they get better.
and in langley, it certainly is the beer of choice for many in our parish. (although I myself prefer domestic brands as well, granville island brews with hot wings went down real well, let me tell you!)

Christ is Risen!

7:06 PM  
Blogger Munkee said...

Victoria, you are SO right about them getting better. For me Lent has become a super-essential time, beyond all of the spiritual importance, of just preparing my self for all of the emotions that come along with the paschal celebration. I don't think I could handle it without Lent's work of preparation.

I'm not sure if that makes any sense.

Another point of interest is Lent. You'll probably never have the same Lent twice. It is different every single year. As you change, so Lent changes. So while the services remain the same, they never really are the same because you will be different.

2:09 PM  

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