Orthodox Christians call it "Bright Week" because the fasting is not penitential but bright and joyful, polishing up our souls for Easter. It's very fitting this week, with all the sparkling new snow!
As Will and I feel out this delicate dance of family tradition (what do we take? what do we leave? what do we create fresh?) North-American Easter has always felt a bit artificial. It's supposed to coincide with spring, at least in theory. But Canadians shivering in eastern Canada don't see visible signs of spring outside the window. No flowers, baby birds, or pastel colours to be seen. It's a monochromatic mess. Bare sticks and mud, with a light dusting of snow.
And yet the hope of the Resurrection remains. I tell the children, it's like the golden yolk in the Easter egg....the sun is hiding now, but will return to warm the earth and bring new life. (unscrupulously plundered from Waldorf mythology. A beautiful analogy, I think!)
Between rounds of laundry (the mud, people! I tell you...) We've been sitting around batiking and dying easter eggs. There's ample time to discuss Easter analogies....along with biological facts about rabbits. No, they don't lay eggs, that I know of. But they bring eggs, oh yes, indeed...watch out!
This week I've been thinking about how to adapt our customs into a more local, more Canadian, more cold-weather version of Easter. The only signs of life outside are some early pussy-willows and song birds in the morning (hurray!!).
Taking inspiration from fellow cold-climate cultures like Russia and Scandinavia, we've been collecting pussy willows and painting eggs bright, deep colours.
I painted my stairwell. I can't tell you how happy I am to see colour this time of year! (The wall green, not blue, in real life. It looks great with all the orange wood we've got around here.)