Easter Sunday.  I woke up early to put the white eggs I had bought last night in a pot and boil them, so that they would be cool enough to paint before I went to Doña Gloria’s house for lunch.  She is my adopted Nicaraguan grandmother here, and since my family has traditionally had lunch with my grandmothers on Easter in the states, I wanted to spend Easter here with Doña Gloria.  And since we usually arrive at my grandmother’s house with pots of hyacinths, I had transplanted a flowering plant into a nice ceramic pot to bring to her too.  So I spent the morning painting easter eggs, put on a nice dress, and set off to deliver flowers and easter eggs.

Last night I walked across town to the last procession of Easter Week, a Procesion la Virgin de los Dolores.  Throngs of people gathered, there were almost as many street venders as participants, and houses along the way had pageants set up with maniquins or children dressed as the dead Christ and grieving Mary.  Everyone gathers in a plaza for the dramatic finale – burning dolls of the disciple Judas that contain fireworks.

I was walking with a neighbor and her children.  She was remembering how the parades used to be even bigger than they are now.  “More people realize now that this is very close to idolotry,” she told me, “The more religious people don’t come to these parades any more.”

What makes me go out of my way to paint eggs on Easter when that is an unheard of practice here?  How does a Christian church, that preaches forgiveness of sins, condone a parade that feeds off of the revengeful delight of burning a hanging image of the betrayer?  Both of these actions are somewhat detached from their origin.  I am not a religious Christian; I didn’t go to Church today, and the only steady practice in my life recently has been yoga and meditation.  So I wasn’t driven to paint eggs for their religious significance.  I don’t know what motivates people to participate in these parades, but I could easily imagine some conflict within the Churches about whether to support them.  But they do, because the people obviously love them.  Parades are fun; eggs are beautiful.

I happened to be at procession with a friend who was raised in a very Catholic community in southern Ireland.  He was fascinated with the differences between Nicaraguan Catholic and Irish Catholic Easters.  Which makes me think, I’m not as much celebrating the Christian holiday of Easter when I paint eggs and take my Abuela a plant as I am celebrating my identity as part of my Lindsay/Metz family.  And as for excitedly screaming as images of Judas are heretically burned and fireworks graze the crowd – it may be in front of a Catholic church, but the message I hear is Viva Nicaragua!

My contribution to a Nicaraguan Easter

My contribution to a Nicaraguan Easter

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