*Crosses and grass set up made by Pastor Richárd and his family
It has been an interesting Holy Week here in Hungary with new experiences and with lots of learning.
On Thursdays I do an English conversation time at my church in Debrecen with anyone who is interested. I wish to write another blog in the future a bit more about this but I want to talk a little bit about our conversation this part Thursday. We talked mostly about Easter and the different traditions we have in America versus in Hungary. I told the ladies about Easter egg hunts for kids and how in my family we usually have lamb for Easter dinner as a tradition. I also talked about how many kids get new outfits for Easter, new spring dresses and suits and how much fun it is to see the kids all dressed up in church on Easter morning.
The ladies told me about Vízbevető Hétfő (thrown to water Monday) and the traditions that go with that. Here in Hungary, the Monday after Easter is also a holiday. In the past, boys would thrown water on the heads of girls. From what I understand, this is about growth, as if the girl is like a flower that needs to be watered. *It is possible that I am not understanding this fully so please forgive any misunderstanding.* Usually a poem would be said at the time of throwing the water, a poem like:
Zöld erdőben jártam,
Kék ibolyát láttam
El akart hervadni
(I was in a green forest
I saw a blue violet
It was about to wither
May I sprinkle her?)
Things are a bit different these days. I can’t imagine many girls putting up with cold water being thrown on their heads anymore. Instead the tradition has grown to be that boys will now pour perfume on a girl’s head. During our conversation on Thursday, the women were telling me that this can become a very smelly process because all of the boys use different perfumes and so all the smells end up combining together to create a bit of an overwhelming scent. I wonder how well this tradition would go over with girls in the United States.
Example of the thrown water.
After the English conversation time I attended a very nice Maundy Thursday service. It was a smaller group there, but very nice. I am so used to seeing Easter Lilies at church at this time of year that I was intrigued instead to see calla lilies. It is fun to see the differences we notice even when they are so small that it also seems odd to take notice at all.
When service was over I was invited to a Passover dinner at church with other members of the congregation. Throughout the dinner, everything we did and ate was talked about in why we are eating each thing and why we do each action. Some examples include taking parsley and dipping it salt water. The Salt water represents the tears that are shed before joy. When eating horseradish we were to eat until our eyes watered to remind us of the the tears shed by the slaves held captive by the pharaohs. Thankfully someone who spoke English sat next to me during the meal and was able to explain the majority of what was being said as we went. I loved sharing with so many people and also observing such an important time.
These are the tools.
What you do to create the eggs is first hard boil them. (Hungarian for egg is tojás) Then I put wax into the bowl of the wax pen. After the wax is put into the bowl, you heat the bowl of the pen up with the candle. The flame causes the wax to melt and eventually come out the tip of the pen. You have to keep the wax hot to keep it flowing well. You also have to have a steady hand to try to create a clean design on the egg with the wax. Lets just say if felt like a lot of multitasking. After you have created your design on the egg with wax it is time to dye. I created the dye using the skins of onions. Just boiled the onion skins in water. I think this was another failure on my part. Not enough onion skins or not enough time boiling. Not sure which. The way the eggs should come out in the end is dyed red from the onion skins, then you rub away the wax from the shell and the design remains.
This is what they should look like when the process is all over. Not how mine looked, but I do love how these eggs come out looking in the end.
Remember, He has risen, He has risen indeed, and He did all he did for us.