Bright colours, the warmth of summer and time spent with family are what come to mind when we think about the occasion of Easter. For those belonging to the Christian faith, this eventadditionally holds a deeper meaning about renewed hope and a celebration of new life.
Let’s talk about how this wonderful occasion is celebrated with faith and flare amongst our local Christian families, even despite all odds.
THE DAYS OF LENT
The Christians follow forty days of ‘Lent’ that starts with ‘Ash Wednesday’, an important day that marks the beginning of the penitential Lenten season and one’s reconciliation with God. For these forty days, Christians around the world try making an effort and find time for charitable acts, introspect on their lifestyles and observe a ‘fast’ wherein they sacrifice their normal desires and habits such as eating meat, drinking or smoking. Towards the end of this season, they then observe a ‘holy week’ that’s followed with faith, prayers and church masses for health and wellbeing. Nearing this week, all of the local churches also hold a collaborative procession of their respective residents along twelve points around the church. This is done while preaching and revising the ‘Twelve Stations Of The Cross’ or ‘Way Of The Cross’ that depict Jesus Christ’s day of crucifixion.
During this week that starts with ‘Palm Sunday’, they observe Jesus Christ’s last supper on ‘Maundy Thursday’, commemorate His passion, suffering and death on ‘Good Friday’ and finally celebrate His resurrection from the dead on the third day, that’s‘Easter Sunday’.
FOOD & FESTIVITIES
Apart from having and attending special church masses or services to commemorate their important days, there’s no doubt about the fact that Goan Christian families celebrate all their festivals with a joyous anticipation. They prepare for the occasion by deep cleaning their homes, adding decorations around and putting together delicious home cooked meals anddelectable sweet treats.
It all starts by having ‘hot cross buns’ for ‘Maundy Thursday’that are either prepared at home or purchased from local bakeries. These are soft sweet buns with dry fruits mixed in and a cross pattern on top, that are often eaten with butter or just enjoyed plain. Post this, the big day – Easter, is often met with excitement and enthusiasm to celebrate the holy event and rejoice their Christian faith.
If you get the good fortune to visit a Goan Christian family on Easter day, you’re sure to return with a tummy that’s more than full! With delicious items of traditional Goan cuisine, whether savory or sweet, there’s something in store for everyone, especially if you’re a non-vegetarian. Be it some scrumptious ‘Sorpotel’, ‘Pork Vindaloo’,’ ‘Beef Roast’, or ‘Chicken Cafreal’ and ‘Mutton Xacuti’ with some wholesome Goan ‘Pulao’, try,but you won’t resist. And to top it off, indulge in a heart-warming piece of ‘Dodol’ that’s a sweet toffee-like sugar palmbased confection or even ‘Vonn’ or ‘Godshe’ that’s basically Goan ‘kheer ’for dessert. We Goans can surely put up quite a feast.
TWIST OF WESTERN INFLUENCE
Over the years, we’ve all been influenced by western culture and the trends around us. And since Easter is widely celebrated in the west; their traditions, cultures and trends also influence Christians around the world and of course, in Goa. These influences are often followed regarding food and activities. An example of having this influence with food, is preparing a ‘whole roast chicken’ for Easter lunch or eating yummy ‘trifle’or ‘carrot cake’ for dessert.
An icon of the occasion worldwide is the ‘Easter Bunny’ that brings along ‘Easter Eggs’. The Easter bunny is mythical creature that is said to lay colourful eggs that in turn also symbolize new life. And so since we can remember it, these bunnies and eggs are consumed in adorable chocolate forms! As an annual event, families bring home colourful candy eggs and chocolate bunnies during this time for their children to celebrate and understand the meaning of the festival in a special way. Many public events are also centered on having Easter egg hunts for kids and adults alike, during this special occasion.
FAMILY TOGETHERNESS DESPITE ALL ODDS
The essence of any Christian celebration is the warmth of love within their families. Easter too is celebrated with this very essence, especially in the Goan households. The entire family and their friends gather around for a few drinks and warm food across the table, with the chit and chatter of the exciting present and happy memories of yester-year.
The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has created barriers between some families or otherwise created hardships to face amongst others. The need of the hour demands better hygiene in place, restriction to crowds and everyone’s safety at priority. But, despite all odds, special occasions and festivals are still celebrated with the best interest and spirit amongst all Goanfamilies. And so they rejoice, with pomp and pride, regardless of whether they’re physically or virtually together. Here’s a day of celebration with a sense of simultaneous penance and joy, and most importantly, their faith at the center of it all.
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