Category Archives: Easter

Good Companions, and Your April Book of Days

Easter brought in April this year. In my family, Easter is one of those holidays that requires days of preparation followed by a good six or seven hours at the table. It begins with the felatta, a traditional platter of cured meats and cheeses and thick fresh orange slices, baskets of two different kinds of homemade taralli (Grandma Cutrone’s and Grandma DeLuca’s), pizza rustica––a savory pie of meats and cheeses and eggs, and dishes of fresh local mozzarella and ricotta. There are the hard boiled eggs, brightly colored, and we have egg fights with them to see whose eggs remain uncracked when they are pitted against each other, tip to tip and butt to butt… and so there are lots of eggs to eat, too. This alone goes on for a good hour and change. And this is just the first course.

So forgive me, I didn’t get to the April edition of your monthly Convivio Book of Days calendar until today, Easter Monday. Which, yes, is a national holiday in many fine countries (like Italy, France, Germany, Canada, and Iceland), mostly in Europe, Africa, and the Caribbean. I didn’t include Easter Monday on the calendar, but you will find a few interesting days, mostly toward the end of the month, as well as a real favorite day for many of you: Våffeldagen, or Waffle Day––a more populist name for the Feast of the Annunciation (known yet again as Lady Day). It’s typically on the 25th of March, but in years when the feast falls on Palm Sunday (as it did this year), Palm Sunday takes precedence and Lady Day is moved to the Monday after the Second Sunday of Easter. Which this year happens to be April 9th… so plan now on eating waffles that day.

Your best bet? Print out the April Convivio Book of Days (it’s a PDF, after all, designed to be printed on standard US Letter paper), pin it to your bulletin board, and use it as a companion to the blog (and as a good reminder to enjoy waffles on April 9). This month’s cover star is rather angelic, and that’s a good companion to have, as well. Enjoy.

 

Light

I’ve been off from work this past week, and it was a wise move, taking off for Holy Week. The days were spent on projects and in preparation. I got to spend time with Seth and with the cat as I finished binding a book that someone had ordered and got to work in earnest once more on the book proposal for the Convivio Book of Days. I started fresh, fresh like spring, and I feel better about the proposal I’ve begun this week, much better than the one I began last fall. My friend Cricket gave me a bag of coffee as inspiration for my writing, and all that’s left is enough for one cup: the cup of coffee I will have when I send her the finished proposal.

We also got to help my mom and sister with Easter baking and we got to go on our annual Holy Thursday night pilgrimage of three churches. It was Seth and me on that pilgrimage and we were out late into the moonlit night. So beautiful. And this year I got to do something I had never done before: I went to church for Good Friday. And that was fine, church was. But the sermon made me uncomfortable and I felt a bit disconnected, until it was all over, when we all left the old church in silence, as we are to do on Good Friday. But as we left, I could hear the sounds of the Creole choir, also from our church. The Creole congregation were in the midst of the Stations of the Cross, outdoors on the sidewalk in front of the older church building, the one from the late 1800s. Their music drew me in and I gathered round the old church with them, leaning up against a live oak tree. They were at the final station. There was wailing and sorrow and there was singing I had never heard before but which sounded so familiar. They made their way then to the main church, the larger, newer one, the one built in 1913. They entered, singing, and I went on my way, content, happier for having run into this extension of myself.

Saturday night, I’ll be back, for the Easter Vigil. It is the hours-long Mass that brings in Eastertide. It can begin only after darkness has fallen, for it is then the third day, which used to confuse me a lot until I realized that different cultures have different ways of reckoning time. No one way is right, for time is such a fluid thing and yet an invention of our making. It will be the beginning of Easter and the second night of Passover, too. We will be there, sitting, standing, kneeling, singing, praying, in a service that will begin in darkness and end in light––a central theme to the Easter Vigil. A fire is kindled and the one light is the source that illuminates all the candles in the church: the candles on the altar, the candles we hold cupped in our hands. We are reminded that light overcomes darkness. We are invited to be that light.

 

Easter

Easter1970

That’s a photo of me taken on Easter morning, 1970. I remember distinctly that shirt––my grandma made it for me––and I remember distinctly that chocolate bunny. We’d have one of similar stature, solid chocolate (hollow? never!) each and every Easter. And an Easter basket, too, filled with chocolate foil eggs and jelly beans and malted eggs and more. The jelly beans would be inside paper eggs from Germany. There would also be lovely egg-shaped candles in the basket, handmade in Germany, with bunnies and flowers and chicks on them, and German wooden carved bunnies, too, in the basket with the cellophane grass.

If all that rings familiar in terms of things we sell at the Convivio Book of Days Catalog on our website, that’s because so much of that catalog is made up of favorite things I remember from my childhood. They meant a lot to me then and they mean a lot to me now, in that these are part of the ingredients, for this family at least, that helps make the ceremony of a day. Not the main ingredient, but an important ingredient nonetheless. The main ingredient is probably the love in our hearts, the doing what we do because we do it to mark occasions across time and space, to celebrate with those who have come and gone and who are here still and with those who are the future.

A couple of years back, during an Eastertide that for me was not the happiest of occasions, I awoke to find a solid chocolate bunny wrapped up and set on my front porch. My friend Frank delivered it, but it wasn’t even exactly from him; it was from a good friend of his, someone I had never even met. I still haven’t met him. But that delivery is a gesture I will probably always remember. A good example of that love in our hearts and doing what we do to celebrate these days, each and every one of them.

May that love be yours, too. A very happy Easter to you and yours. Hopefully this spring morning you woke up to a few good surprises, too.