Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday

The idea of an Easter Market seems counterintuitive.  Lent is the time of penance between Carnival and Easter.  The idea of a market selling food and flowers during Lent seems odd.  But then there is Palm Sunday, a time to stroll with palm fronds.  In places where palm trees do not flourish early spring blossoms like forsythia and pussy willow are a good stand-in.  So … Continue reading Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday

Carnival Just Keeps on Coming, Salvador, Bahia

February 19, 2015, Salvador, Bahia, Brazil Carnival is over but in Salvador it ends later than in Rio, and Salvador claims it throws a bigger party than Rio, which bills its carnival as “The biggest party in the world.” In Salvador the carnival, according to the books I have read, revolves around blocos, or block parties, that have become movable feasts.  Bands played on stages, … Continue reading Carnival Just Keeps on Coming, Salvador, Bahia

Joyful Apocalypse,

February 16, 2015 Carnival in Rio. We were on our feet dancing for the entire performance of the Mocidade Samba School at the Sambodormo in Rio for Carnival.  This group was clearly a crowd favorite.  When they were announced thousands of people with the school’s flag started waving them and chanting in the stands across from us.  It was magic. It helped that we could … Continue reading Joyful Apocalypse,

Carnival in Rio!

February 16, 2015 Rio Sambodormo is the epicenter of Carnival.  It is a street lined by concrete bleachers, 13 grandstands plus reviewing stands, holding 90,000, designed by Oscar Niemeyer, who designed the city of Brasilia and major soccer stadiums.  The 12 major samba schools perform on the Sunday and Monday of Carnival in a completion to see which school is the champion.  (On Friday and … Continue reading Carnival in Rio!

Recycled Carnival

February 8, 2015 Montevideo, Uruguay A week from tonight we plan to be at the Sunday night carnival parade in Rio.  Today we are in Montevideo, Uruguay.  Montevideo’s carnival lasts for 40 days, starting the 40 days before Ash Wednesday.  Instead of parades stages are set up in neighborhoods with performances rotating around the city.  I wish the ship were not sailing at 5 PM … Continue reading Recycled Carnival

Bratislava Easter Fair or a Spanking for Easter.

The Bratislava Easter markets are basically extra booths added onto the open air booths that are in two of the squares all season (Hviezdoslavovo námestie and Františkánske námestie.)  The Bratislava market had almost no emphasis on food (except for a few stalls selling wine and olive oil, no tasting).  Local Slovak handicrafts dominate, with a lot of decorated eggs and a strange Slovak item called … Continue reading Bratislava Easter Fair or a Spanking for Easter.

Altwiener Ostermarkt, Freyung (Old Vienna Easter market at Freyung)

Around the perimeter of the Altwiener Ostermarkt, Freyung (Old Vienna Easter market at Freyung Square) booths sell handicrafts, I bought an olive wood egg.  One sold live rabbits.  The food market and the wine tasting booths were across the street.  I have a picture of a group of umbrellas huddled around a round table.  The umbrellas interlocked in a way that guaranteed the soggy diners … Continue reading Altwiener Ostermarkt, Freyung (Old Vienna Easter market at Freyung)

40,000 Easter Eggs

The Altwiener Ostermarkt, Freyung (Old Vienna Easter market at Freyung Square) was smaller and more interesting than the market at Schonbrunn.  In the middle of the square is what is advertised as, 40,000 decorated Easter eggs are for sale.  It seems like more.  They sit in flats under umbrellas, each hand painted, or, in some cases, shells with designs cut into them.  Broken egg shells … Continue reading 40,000 Easter Eggs

Easter Market at Schonbrunn Palace

Vienna’s Easter markets are spin offs of their Christmas markets and are relatively small compared with their Yuletide counterparts.  I had wondered how these markets dealt with the Lenten season of penance and fasting.  They mostly don’t.  The market on the grounds of the Schonbrunn Palace is the largest.  It has an Easter House “Werkstatt” (work station) where children make marzipan bunnies and eggs.  It … Continue reading Easter Market at Schonbrunn Palace

Easter (or is it Spring Festival?) in Cairo.

This post is from Easter, 2007.  Suzi and I were working in Egypt. The Spring Festival, “Sham el Nessim,” “smell the breezes” always falls on Easter Monday (Based on the Eastern rite’s reckoning, which this year was the same as Western Easter.)  The festival dates back to Pharaonic times.  It’s a day for family picnics where people eat green onions, fish and hardboiled eggs that … Continue reading Easter (or is it Spring Festival?) in Cairo.

Eastertide in three former Yugoslav Countries (Early 2000s)

Three Easters from the former Yugoslavia: Slovenia, Croatia and Montenegro, early 2000s Slovenia: Spring had come to Ljubljana, you can tell by the forsythia and the willow, but it was not by the weather.  A cold wind blew snow flurries around and disrupted the Sunday flea market by bringing one of the displays crashing down. Outside the churches vendors sold almost budding willow boughs and … Continue reading Eastertide in three former Yugoslav Countries (Early 2000s)

Palm Sunday, Freising, Germany

My flight from Tbilisi touched down at 6.  As I stepped out the shuttle at our airport hotel in Freising at 7 AM, after clearing customs and getting my bag, I heard the joyous “surround sound” peeling of church bells for Palm Sunday.  I took a nap then, but the peel repeated itself at 8, 9 and 10.  Suzi had gotten to Munich the night … Continue reading Palm Sunday, Freising, Germany

A Craftsman in Easter Eggs (From 2002)

There are Serbian Easter Eggs, Croatian Easter Eggs, American Easter Eggs, and Slovak Easter Eggs.  Mikulas “Mickey” Derevjanik, is a Slovak craftsman, a metal worker, who designs Easter Eggs wrapped in wire.  He comes from generations of metal workers who wandered from the Balkans to Central Europe and is proud of his craft. Mickey has started to do metalwork himself and is now a master.  … Continue reading A Craftsman in Easter Eggs (From 2002)

Belgrade, Easter 2001 (continued from post before)

This is continuation, from the same letter I posted from yesterday.  It is early for Easter but I thought the two posts should go together. Easter, 2001 In front of St. Marko’s church are stalls selling Easter candies and beautifully painted, decorated and, in some cases, bejeweled (probably with zircon) eggs.  Nearby kids ride battery operated cars wearing their Easter wreaths.   An old woman approached … Continue reading Belgrade, Easter 2001 (continued from post before)

Lent and Easter in Belgrade

April 15, 2001(Easter Sunday) Belgrade, Yugoslavia Dear Friends, Religion in Serbia is struggling to find itself after 45 years of official atheism followed by 10 years in which being a Serb, Croat or Bosniak was defined by religion since appearance or language really didn’t separate the groups.  Religion never died under Tito.  We celebrated Easter in Croatia in 1972 with the family in whose bed … Continue reading Lent and Easter in Belgrade

Warsaw, Palm Sunday, 2013

On Palm Sunday we ventured into the old town a second time.  Poland is not the land of palm trees, although Charles De Gaulle square has a huge plastic palm tree.  (It is a work of art.  Before the war a road ran from this circle to a Jewish suburb called “New Jerusalem.”  The plastic palm tree honors that.)  In place of palms Poles parade … Continue reading Warsaw, Palm Sunday, 2013