In any case, since celebrating Easter is celebrating the resurrection of Jesus, which is true all the time, and some churches don't even have a special "Easter celebration" at all because it's something we celebrate EVERY day (or at least every Sunday--the fact that Jesus rose on a Sunday is the reason I've most often heard given for why most churches have their main worship service on a Sunday), it doesn't actually matter to me when we celebrate as a family. Most of us were ill at one point or another (or several) over the last month, and I was just so tired, that we opted out of celebrating last week. I did attend the Anglican church service, though, for several reasons: I love singing with a group (not that I could very well with my cold, but I tried); I love Easter music; the service is short; I wanted to take communion; I appreciate a certain amount of liturgy and tradition (once or twice a year); friends who don't usually go to St. Helena's were going that Sunday; and the service ends before Jörn and whichever children are going with him to the house church leave, so I could go without any children. All fairly practical and pragmatic reasons, really. It was okay, but I didn't get much music until I got home again. And for me, there were two brief moments of actual worship, but that's not too bad considering my attitude about institutional church in the last couple of years.
So last night after the younger children had gone to bed, I boiled and dyed a dozen eggs. (Yes, we sometimes do it with the children, and yes, that can be fun. If any of them had remembered on their own and asked, I would have done it with them. But they didn't, so I didn't.) I thought I had plenty of liquid food coloring, but it turned out that I only had green and blue. (In fact, thanks to hand-me-downs, three of green and two of blue. But no other colors.) I also had some powdered food coloring, which someone had given me and I haven't liked much how it works in frosting (frosting for birthday cakes being the only time I ever use food coloring normally), and I had no idea how it would work for dying eggs, but I figured I had nothing to lose.
Here are the finished eggs. The "orange" one on the right was actually in the yellow dye along with the yellow one right below it, but it was a much darker egg to start with. Some of the eggs were from our chickens (the smallest ones--our chickens are still quite young), some from a friend's chickens, and some from the store.
I was planning to go up on the roof at 5:00 this morning to watch the sunrise, but was less sure of my plan when I realized it was raining last night. I set my alarm for 5:00 anyway, because I did really enjoy the one time I did that before, in 2009.
Not that an alarm was necessary. The Cypriot idea of celebrating Easter includes a great deal of noise, all night long. There had already been firecrackers and bonfires at random times in the last few weeks, and a huge bonfire was being prepared at the end of our street. (The tradition here, not actually sanctioned by the Orthodox church, is to burn Judas Iscariot in effigy Saturday night.) By the time it got dark last night, the firecrackers and fireworks were almost constant. I went to bed early (well, for me...it was about 11:30), thinking that that would be a good idea if I did end up getting up at 5:00, but there was no hope of sleep. In addition to the firecrackers and occasional huge booms, there were a lot of voices of people calling to each other, and neighbors on two sides had parties with loud music going. At 11:50 the noises picked up and by midnight were so loud, I couldn't believe that the children were sleeping through it. I didn't even bother turning off my reading light until about 12:45, but there was still plenty of noise out there, as well as the smell of smoke from the bonfires. I still heard music around 3:00, and the last firecrackers at 5:30. (I've heard plenty more this afternoon, though.)
Still, at 5:00 I got up. I went outside to see if it was clear, and since it was, I got dressed, got a chair and the camera and my journal, and went up on the roof. (I have nothing against sitting actually on the roof normally, but it was wet from the rain, so that's why I took a chair!)
I miss my old Pentax K500 camera, which I bought when I was 11 and sold before we moved here, not having used it for nearly 15 years. With it, I could take photos that actually looked just like what I was seeing. There must be some kind of settings on our digital camera to override all the automatic stuff, but I don't know how to do that. This is of the tree in front of our house, with the moon to the right, taken at 5:18 a.m. East is actually slightly to the left of that, but there were too many streetlights to get any kind of decent photo while it was still dark, and even this one is with the flash. (I do know how to override the flash, but those were just completely dark.)
This next one was taken at 5:26 and it was actually quite a bit lighter than that. I still couldn't see to read, but light was definitely visible.
And this one, again, actually lighter than the photo shows, was taken at 5:33.
At which point Jörn called to me that Elisabeth had woken up, so I came down from the roof and went back to bed before sunrise had even happened.
Incidentally, while looking up on-line what time sunrise would be, I learned all sorts of new terms. "Nautical twilight" started at 5:16, so I was up there pretty much in time for that, but left again before it even got as far as civil twilight (5:47), and by the time of the actual sunrise at 6:13, I was long since fast asleep again. There is also an "astronomical twilight", which started at 4:44, but which would definitely not been visible with the city lights, and I would add the "avian twilight", which was when the birds started: 5:26. As well as the Elisabethan twilight (5:35) and the Helenic twilight (just before 6:00, I think, which is when Helen came to my bed and informed me that it was light now).
At 8:00 my alarm went again and I got up to make the Easter bread.
Braided to symbolize the Trinity of God the Father, God the Son (Jesus), and God the Holy Spirit, and in a circle to symbolize no beginning and no end. No good explanation for the eggs, though.
Just before breakfast, I cut Jacob's hair, which wasn't a good idea, as I forgot that it takes approximately ten times longer than cutting Lukas's hair. (Lukas's hair takes literally about two minutes, maybe less. Jacob's hair is a LOT thicker.) We couldn't wait for breakfast, though, because Marie, Elisabeth, and I needed to leave before 10:00, so the only photo I took doesn't have Jacob in it as he was still in the shower after his haircut:
We had some checkered green napkins, which Lukas folded into flowers, and there were two small chocolate eggs for each person.
Elisabeth and I went to Grace Church today (dropping Marie off at LCC on the way), where I loved the music and most of the rest of the service, as well. I was even liking the sermon and was disappointed when Elisabeth made it impossible for me to stay for that, and got the most out of time afterwards for lots of hugs and chatting. Marie joined us then, as I'd thought there was going to be a shared lunch, but it turned out that that was last week.
And now it's after 4:00 and Jörn and the other four children have been home for 10 minutes or so, and we're about to head out for our biweekly Sunday afternoon/evening with good friends. :-)