Easter is not a big thing in Peru.
There are no great Easter Sunday celebrations. No children enjoying Easter egg hunts. No giant chocolate bunnies for sale. No Easter bonnets and Sunday best. There are no plastic eggs and Easter grass and definitely no Peeps.
It's the week leading up to Easter that is more celebrated here. It's called Holy Week (Semana Santa). There's a special meal that is served on Friday but not even the Evangelical churches do much on Easter Sunday. We had two days off school but nothing much was planned for Sunday.
You might think that all this would be a recipe for a pretty miserable celebration of Easter but you are forgetting one thing!! That missionaries can create their own celebrations. Thus begins the tale of my Easter celebrating.
It started with "E" week at school. Conveniently, Miss Carrie could celebrate "Eggs" and "Easter" with her kids!! So, we dyed Easter eggs at school (despite the fact that I couldn't find food dye anywhere when it normally is available). Ella (my North American student) was the envy of her fellow students with her brightly colored eggs. You see, she was the only one who brought white eggs! I didn't even think about asking my kids to bring white eggs. They are available here but not as common as brown eggs and brown eggs are what most people use. I also did the "resurrection eggs" with my kids. I talked too much in Spanish during that but I think it's better for them to understand the Easter story more than hearing English.
Josué and the boys' eggs!
Ella and Ester color while waiting for their eggs to dye.
Another egg dyeing event happened with my friend Luz on Friday. It was her first time dyeing eggs and I think she really enjoyed herself but she had a question: "What do you do with the eggs afterwards?" My answer suddenly felt very silly: "well, you eat them, of course!" We also made Calzones which was very fun and funny because you know the word for underwear in Spanish is spelt just the same way. So, we had fun trying to think of a different way to say the word.
Dyeing eggs with Luz and Bethany (I didn't use my camera - I'm really not trying to be vain).
Luz laughs about making "calzones."
Friday afternoon there was a Seder meal at the Shultz's house and just about all the people on our team participated. It was very fun because every person even the kids had their parts to read during the whole meal. One of the best moments was washing each others' hands. The littlest people at the table (Abby and Ella) had to be helped but it really was a special time. It's amazing how the Seder meal is filled with so much meaning. Unfortunately, I think too many of our "evangelical" traditions are not filled with enough meaning! Anyway, after drinking about 8 glasses of grape juice, dipping matza in vinegar, eating radish, apple salad and eggs we ended the time with a spontaneous romp around the table to some Jewishy sounding praise song.
Ella finds all the hidden leaven bread hidden in the Shultz's house during the Seder meal.
Ron and Regina read about the significance of the lamb bone.
As part of the Seder, everyone dips their egg in vinegar before eating.
On Sunday I taught the youngest class for Sunday school. We had a celebration party for Jesus and I handed out twisty balloons in the shapes of crosses. It was so much fun to be able to celebrate with the kids! After church the missionaries got together for a yummy meal at the Kreiders' house. Dulce Refugio brought deviled eggs, carrot jello salad (some of the kids who looked at it in disdain at first did end up liking it!), strawberry pie and peanut butter eggs. Oh, I forgot, making peanut butter eggs was another part of the whole Easter celebration. Mmmmm.... they sure were yummy!
After our delicious meal we had an egg hunt in the Kreiders' backyard. I had fun helping to hide the eggs... my favorite spot was in the rubber gloves hanging on the line. hee hee... So the kids: ages 2.5 - 16 had their egg hunt and eventually found all the candy filled eggs. They even shared with us poor candy-less adults. We played an egg cracking contest with each other and sang some Easter songs. It really was a wonderful afternoon and maybe more fun than my normal quiet Easter afternoons with my small family back home.
Singing Easter "carols" together.
Bethany and Jen try to see whose egg will crack in our egg cracking contest.
So, despite living in a country that doesn't really celebrate Easter, we ended up having a fantastic Easter after all. It was filled with fun and meaningful traditions and even some of our Peruvian friends got to join in with our festivities.
JESUS IS ALIVE!!!