Even though I consider Ireland to be my home, I love keeping the Croatian tradition over Easter, at least considering the food. I wish I could say it brings me back to my childhood, that would sound kind of ‘romantic’, and perhaps it does, but I think I keep it merely because I actually like it. I have already written about Holy Saturday, the day before Easter, by stating its wisdom. Yet apart from carrying a deep meaning, Holy Saturday is also a day of preparation and cooking.
This year, I got up in the morning and as soon as I had coffee I immersed myself into preparing food. In no particular order, I cooked ham and made bread in order to bake the ham in it later on. I boiled lots of eggs and coloured them, some with the red onion skin, others with a proper egg-dye. I only had one small sachet of the dye from last year, so most of the eggs ended up being brown from red onion.
But it’s a nice brown, I think.
These are a few of a different colour.
At the same time, I was preparing the so-called ‘French salad’, which I don’t even know if they eat in France (probably not), but that is how we call it in Croatia. I was beaming with happiness as I was doing it. When I was studying long time ago for my undergraduate degree, my dad would day, “Just give her a book, and she is happy”. And it’s true. I loved studying and still do. I still love learning. But nowadays I think it is fair to say , “just put me in the kitchen to cook, and I am happy”. Perhaps each stage in life has its own joys, as well as its own challenges.
In Croatia, when all this food is cooked we bring it to Mass the next morning to be blessed and then we serve it for breakfast. In Ireland that tradition does not exist, so I only cooked it and left it to wait the next day so we can enjoy it. Part of the ‘food-ritual’ is what I call egg-fight. Don’t get me wrong, we don’t throw eggs at each other! We each choose an egg and then crack it against someone else’s egg. The person whose egg didn’t crack wins. I introduced my housemate to it, and first time round before she even got to realise what was going on, she lost (her egg cracked). We laughed. The message of Easter is joy and peace that Jesus brings by announcing His Resurrection. Every little tradition that helps in cultivating that joy and a sense of celebration is worth keeping. Christ is risen! Alleluia! Happy Easter 🙂
© Iva Beranek (Dublin, 29th March 2016)
Photos by © Iva Beranek