And Gutenberg Lived Here: The Flying Squirrels, And Other Easter Traditions

Gutenberg Land is,

to put it in a nutshell,

one of the more unusual places on this planet to spend Easter.


First there are the historical traditions:

the capping of village wells with a crown of large,

croquet hoop shaped,

willow slips,

to which centuries old and carefully packed away each year,

blown out and decorated Easter eggs are hung.

Altars in churches that are,

until the reading of the creation at Easter sunrise,

empty of Bible, candles, transubstantiation bells, a crucifix, the sound of the organ,

since the altar is draped in black,

and these elements of Catholic worship,

“are in Rome”

as the locals say.

Then, on Easter day,

of course,

there is a huge ceremony in the cathedral,

with priests in historical vestments,

almost every stop on the organ being pulled,

(there’s a joke here about local organists being so short

because as apprentices,

they have to fit under the arms of the organist

to pull the stops.)

Oh, and before I forget,

in addition to the historical vestments,

this is,

as I have mentioned many times,

a papal see-

the pope has his own throne at the back,

also  traditionally used by the emperor,

when there was one,

and the church ushers wear Swiss guard uniforms,

with pikestaff.

(the rest of us- the protestant section,

get up EARLY-

for sunrise service,

and have the added and wonderful joy

of watching the squirrels in the trees

waking up, making ablutions,

and jumping through the treetops

as the sun comes up.

Then, of course,

there are the American additions to the scene-

giant pink rabbits selling perfume,

fancy Easter cards,

Easter egg hunts,

plastic grass for baskets-

never a thing over here-

marking pens and wax batik eggs,

(tradition here is boiled onion skin brown eggs,

red from beet juice,

all made to shine by wiping with a pork rind with fat back.)

Actually, I could go on forever,

with the Gutenberg  cathedral’s own particular mass form,

different from everywhere else in the world,

or Roman traditions,

or the German tradition of everyone going out into the hills

for a good walk in nature,

and often bringing back forsythia branches,

to put in a vase,

to hang small wooden rabbits and eggs on,

or the special coffees,

and traditional baking,

and weeks of preparation,

and the gift exchange,

in many homes,

of marzipan figures,

flowers, of course,

and even nylons for the women,

I expect a throwback to the fifties,

when it was hard to get to such things.

The main thing, though,

as I see it,

is the personal meaning for each person

of Easter.

For us,  a time of meditation and giving thanks.

And talking to family.

And being glad that Harold and I are still together.

(And still enjoy exchanging our own special Easter treats-

small hand decorated chocolate “present eggs”

and homemade hot cross bunnies.

Happy Easter to all.

copyright 2017



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