11 April 2010
Holy Week: Easter
We managed to get to sleep, and on Sunday morning awoke to celebrate both Easter and Nic's birthday. We went to church to find dozens of bouquets of flowers and a huge crowd of celebrating people looking their Easter best. Above is a picture of the alter at St.s Peter and Paul church on Easter Sunday. We bought some of our own lilies as you can see at the top of the blog. It was rather confusing, however, as we tried to buy 3 lilies which were wrapped up, we were quoted 10 lari. We asked instead the price of an individual flower: 2 lari. Needless to say we did not buy the wrapped flowers, but carried two large, individual, unwrapped lilies home. While we were going to church, many Georgians were just coming home from church with their Easter new fire.
Georgians have a special cake they only make for Easter called Paskha (the Russian word for Easter). From what I can tell, it is heavy on the butter and eggs with raisins and dried fruit, and difficult to make. I am told that to make it properly takes 12 hours, so people rarely make it themselves—they buy it from a store or special bakery but then they complain that not all the ingredients are used. Some people even sell it on the street out of the back of their cars (like almost anything you can buy on the street: whole chickens, fruit, cheese. This is common). As you can see, the cakes are light colored and rather tall.
I was also pleased with the eggs, and found that although color choices are limited in Georgia, there are ways to "spice up" and decorate the eggs with these plastic pictures. Below you can see two that our landlady gave us. In the one on the right, you can see cartoon animals bringing paskha to each other. The one on the left is in Russian with a church. I also heard a new story about the eggs, but only from one source. A student told me that eggs are also related to as story of Thomas, the disciple. According to her, he made a comment of non-belief in Jesus' resurrection, and said something like "I'll believe when these eggs I have turn red." And then they did. I'm still a little shaky on the details.
Nic wanted eggs, but not paskha for his birthday picnic. We specially ordered a chocolate bundt cake (which I thought we had a picture of but I cannot find), I made chicken salad, and we took some wine and fruit to the botanic gardens, which were particularly quiet. With a couple other guys, we celebrated Nic's birthday in a beautiful setting with tasty food and cake.