Saturday, 30 April 2016

DAY 46 - April 30, 2016 - Tonight's Activity: The Cracking of Easter Eggs - Το Τσούγκρισμα των Πασχαλινών Αυγών

In this picture, Husband and I are  cracking Easter eggs shortly after the 2015 Resurrection service.
 I can't remember who "won" but it looks like maybe he is denting my egg.
It is finally here!  After about 7 weeks of having no animal products (apart from fish (on March 25th and Palm Sunday), some shellfish, mollusks, squid or octopus), not much oil,  or any egg or dairy products, we are finally at the night to share an Agape Meal that includes Tsoureki (sweet bread), Eggs, Magaritsa (Lamb Soup), and one tradition that we wanted to explore a little more -- Tsougrisma (Egg Cracking).

We spend our time to make our eggs.  We boil them exactly for 8 minutes, make sure to rinse them after 10 more minutes so we don't get the overcooked dark green yolks.  We research and shop for the very best egg dye, making sure that it will produce that lovely, deep red colour that shines beautifully to represent the blood Jesus shed for us.   We also may add a little special decoration to our red eggs, such as crosses or mini icons.  We spend all this time to make beautiful eggs,… by why?  We are going to spend our night after church and our day tomorrow smashing up the beautifully coloured eggs and laughing about it in a game.  What is that about?

We wanted to show you a little bit about the game that our family plays,as do many; and if you don't already have your own version of it, then we are going to explain how it goes.  The game we are talking about is casually referred to as "Tsourgrisma " or  "Cracking".  With all the things the Greeks invented, nobody could invent a better name for this game.  It  is the game that represents Christ's resurrection and arising from the open tomb (the shell is the tomb, Christ is the egg).

For this game, you will need the following:

2 People, any age
2 Eggs, hard boiled, dyed red
1 Sense of Humor, as needed

There are very few rules with this game, although there are many within a family or a group.  This game is about "Last Man Standing".  So, two people hold their eggs in the same manner; meaning that both hold the pointed end upward and the more round end at the bottom.  Then, each person takes a turn hitting the other's egg one hit at a time.  Whoever has the broken egg Loses!  That's it.  The winner takes his/her egg and moves on to crack against the next person.

Tsougrisma becomes funny because there are often complaints like, "He hit too hard," "I wasn't ready," "He held his egg too close to the top," or, my favourite, "It was broken before we started."  There are a million excuses as to why the losing egg was the losing egg, and telling someone that they are lying -- then, you would be walking on eggshells.

There could be other rules that families include, such as the oldest person at the table picks the first egg.  Or, maybe each person is only allowed to use the egg he/she received upon leaving church (in place of antithoro).   You will find many people who touch every single egg and examine it so closely, as if they can see inside the red shell.  There are others who pick up whatever is closest and use that.  In our family, if you break it, you must eat it.  Oh, what a joy to be a loser!

Knowing that we are never losers in God's eyes, nor can we be losers in His care. Play and have fun.

Wishing everyone a Kalo Pascha! And, thank you for joining us this year. With all the challenges of time and family, we were able to let God's grace shine on us to survive the Great Fast. Hopefully, we have shared some useful recipes, dishes, methods, and information with you over the past 40 days. We pray that all have a loving and joyous Ressurrection tonight. Christ is Risen!

"Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and behold, I am with you all days, even unto the consummation of the world."

-Matthew 28:20

Source of video:

This moving video, showing the amazing drama of the "Anasta O Theos" ("Arise O Lord!") hymn that takes place every Holy Saturday morning service. In our Toronto church this morning, the entire parish was banging on the pews instead. We are amazed at the joy of every member of this Greek Orthodox community (although the video doesn't elaborate where, exactly, Raitho is, our research revealed that this is a Greek Orthodox Monastery in the Sinai Peninsula, Egypt. Today, it is also mainly known as "El Tur").

Before leaving you today, may we share an excerpt from an interesting website about Easter customs in Cyprus:

"In the morning of Holy Saturday, the Resurrection Ceremony takes place. When the priest says out loud «Anasta o Theos», all the black clothes covering the icons fall to the floor and people strike hard on the church seats while at the same time the priest walks in the church throwing daphne leaves. All these symbolize the victory of life against death…"

Source of quote:

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