Monday, 25 April 2011
Salt and Eggs
Easter is most likely my favourite holiday because it falls in April, the month of my birthday. It’s an amiable month even if March does go out like a lion there are still showers and flowers and warmer weather to look forward to. This is the time that Persephone returns home to her mother, Demeter, who restores vitality to the earth after a bleak, bitterly cold winter. A time on the Judaic/Christian calendars when Jews around the world observe Passover or Pesach and Christians celebrate the resurrection of Christ. Children ready their baskets in Poland with the symbolic ingredients of butter shaped into a lamb or a cross, salt, horseradish, eggs, bread, meat and a candle covered with linen while it waits the blessing of the priest. And children everywhere dye or colour their eggs for rolling and hunting.
This time of year encourages new growth and change. In the sermon yesterday Jens-Peter (our minister) said that it’s a time to come out of hiding. No longer can the nourishment and the beauty that wants to break forth from deep within the soil remain there; it must express itself, the bloom and the grain. At the Seder supper, there is a piece of matzah that is held back (or hidden) for later in the service and when it is at last uncovered it is known in Hebrew as Tzofun or Out of Hiding. The dipping of the vegetable in salt water prompts the children to ask “why?” In both the Polish basket and at the Seder, salt presents a dual significance: salty tears shed from suffering and salt as a cleansing ritual.
Easter is a time to come out of hiding, to remember the tears and then to heal what caused them, to break bread, to celebrate each other, to sow new seeds, to activate the inner life of the soul so passionately that it sustains you over winter.
We spent the afternoon with the Ashton children colouring eggs, rolling them, hiding them, hunting them, finding them and then finally eating them. It was a day of friends and feasting and greens from the garden; a day of abundance and gratitude that so much around us is fertile, full of potential. Happy Easter, Sweet Pesach.