Sunday, April 08, 2007

Easter in Cyprus...

After a quiet Holy Week, the Greek Orthodox churches have a vigil until midnight on Easter Saturday, at which point the priest produces a lighted candle. All the people attending also bring candles; the priest lights one of them, saying: χριστος ανεστι - 'Christos anesti' phonetically, meaning ' Christ is risen' - to which the response is: αλεθως ανεστι - ' alethos anesti' - meaning ' he is risen indeed' (similar to the words used at the start of Anglican services on Easter day).

Then there's a ceremony that involves burning an effigy of Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Jesus. It sounded rather barbaric to me until someone pointed out that in the UK we do the same kind of thing with Guy Fawkes on bonfire night. And there's a procession around the church, too. We've never been to one of these Easter night services - I'm decidedly not a night-owl - but we've heard about them from friends. Particularly friends who live near Greek Orthodox Churches, who can pretty much guarantee not to get to sleep until about 1am.

A couple of years ago they started having fireworks in addition, at midnight. We could hear a few of those from our old house, but if I was asleep I wouldn't notice them.

Last year people started making their own fireworks - a kind of pipe bomb thing - which were noisier, and also more dangerous. I gather they were made illegal in the last year. And so... this year, there were more of them. Last night, I didn't get to sleep until about 11pm anyway - my sister and her family arrived safely, with the plane making good time - but at about 3am I woke, hearing loud bangs. Again, and again. Apparently they'd been going on almost all night... and continued until at least 5am. I got up shortly after 6, totally shattered, then went back to bed again an hour later and slept until nearly 8am. And still felt shattered.

So I didn't make the 9am service at the Community Church. I stayed home and did some of the cooking for lunch instead. In the afternoon we all went out for a walk by the Salt Lake and in the evening I went to the Anglican church Easter evening service, where Tim was playing.

Now it's only quarter past nine and I'm almost falling asleep as I type...

Happy Easter to anyone reading this.

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