Last year we were eating chocolate in Aubonne, Switzerland, the previous year in Helmsley, United Kingdom and going further back it was in New Zealand.
So as you can see, there is an overwhelming repetitive habit occurring with chocolate. It’s true, we love eating chocolate at Easter time.
If the truth is to be told, we love eating it on any given day of the year. For the purposes of this tale, we shall try and convince ourselves that Easter is the time for chocolate, bunnies and all things sticky like hot cross buns.
So for chocolate lovers all over the world and us, Easter is usually “in a mostly Christian country” indeed a time to indulge our chocolate habit. In my younger years, we were spoiled with not only chocolate eggs, but we also had a keepsake in the form of an eggcup. Which would be used throughout the year, or until broken whichever came first. It was to be used to place a real egg with soldiers on the side with lashings of butter.
This year, no big selling hype of Easter celebrations in shops, no eggcups, no decorative chocolate Easter eggs. Though there is still chocolate to be had, so this weekend we will still be indulging in chocolate, just not in the form of an Easter Egg.
So some things in our lives never do change, just the form in which they arrive. Turkey, on the other hand, has had many changes. There are still a few minority groups alongside the 95% Muslim who form the population of Turkey. These groups will be celebrating Easter in various traditional ways.
Let’s see how a few religious minorities may celebrate this holy weekend in Turkey.
Syriacs: As they are the oldest Christian group not only in Turkey but also in the world. Their emphasis is on the resurrection of Christ. The process starts 50 days before of the Easter with a fasting period. During this time they do not use animal products.
Assyrians: Preparation of a ”Hanoi Krithoni”. With this model, they knock on the doors of different houses with songs and collect oil, egg and other types of food. By the end of the day, the food will be prepared and eaten together.
Armenians: Preparations start seven weeks before Easter. Spiritual readiness is essential. The start of Easter celebrations is one week before Easter Sunday. In Surp Zadik, the giving of red eggs, with sweet yeast bread eaten in the church are ways in which they celebrate. Another step is to remember loved ones who have passed away, so a visit to the cemetery is all part of the day’s celebration.
Greeks: They celebrate the day Christ was crucified, and they do not eat meat and animal products. On Saturday Night everybody goes to the churches and at midnight everybody lights candles. When they return after church, they tap their red eggs [the red is a sign of life], and for lunch, they prepare a table of food. Sweet yeast bread is made into the shape of a plait.
So if you have, like us, the chance to be in a Muslim country you may enjoy the smell of baking sweet bread [plait bread/Paskalya Ekmek] or other delectable food, instead of the usual Hot Cross Buns, as you sit down for an Easter treat. Whatever we do, one thing I am sure of is that we shall endeavour to do justice to a few sources of that dark, luscious substance, not in the form of an egg,
If you celebrate or not as the case may be, let tolerance of others and their religious beliefs take a higher priority than those Easter Eggs.