Sunday, March 23, 2008
Happy Easter from Portugal
Our Easter has been interesting thus far. I guess it started yesterday when Michael walked down the street to get a few errands taken care of. While there he wrote to me on the phone and asked if I needed any meat from the butcher. I wrote back that I had some for our evening meal, but that maybe he could surprise me and bring home some meat for Sunday. When he got home he pulled out what we thought was a Ham. I thought, "Great! perfect for Easter!" Michael said he wasn't sure it was a ham, but we both agreed that it looked like a ham. Michael went on to describe how the butcher brought out the entire leg of the pig and put it up on the block and with one hard "whack" cut off the part he brought home. My stomach feels a little queasy now as I recount this.
After everyone had baths and was ready for bed we made Resurrection Cookies. You know the kind. The ones where all the ingredients have something to do with the Gospel story and you put them in the oven, seal the oven door with tape(like the tomb..only not with tape) and on Easter morning you open the tomb to find the cookies are hollow on the inside (also like the tomb!). If anyone is interested in the recipe leave a comment and I'll type it up.
All the kids were put in bed, and I finished up the usual Saturday evening things. I was the last to get to bed at about 11:45 pm. Just as I was about to doze off I heard what sounded like the beating of drums on the roof. I laid there trying to determine which direction it was coming from, all the while trying to remember if all the doors are locked and if maybe one of the girls is sleep walking. After a few minutes it stopped. "Good. Now I can get some sleep." I thought. Then again, the beating started, only this time it sounded even closer. I jumped out of bed, and opened our bedroom window to find the night sky filled with the lights of what looked like high powered fireworks! Everyone, all across this land was shooting fireworks. Not the normal 4th of July kind, but the kind like someone is in distress on the highway. Almost like flares, only they go on and on and on... Finally it dawned on me. At midnight it had turned Easter. I guess this is a usual way to celebrate Easter in Portugal. As I type this it's almost 3:00 pm on Easter. The "fireworks/flares" are still going off. The picture above is of our neighbors out shooting theirs this morning.
Last Friday, Good Friday, Michael and I carried the kids walking down the center of town here in Barcelos. Lots of people were out and about. Most folks were off from work and there were activities for the kids and the grown ups shopped and ate lunch at little cafes along the way. Since arriving in Portugal I've wanted to go inside a Catholic chapel to see what they were all about. Well, the doors were standing open to this chapel:
and Michael said, there is your chance. So I walked in. I wish I could have taken a picture, cause I cannot describe what I saw as well as I want to. Everything was very beautiful in an old, sort of way. But right up front was a life sized "dummy" laying down with blood on him and a white sheet draped over his body. It was supposed to be Christ after the crucifixion. As I looked over at a gentleman standing beside me he clasped his hands over his mouth as if it were a very disturbing sight to him. I wonder...well...I wonder about a lot of things....but I wonder about that man. What was he thinking? Does he know Jesus as Savior? Or only as a weak, pitiful man who died. I wish I could communicate...I wish I had all the answers....or at least more than I have now.