Tag Archives: easter

Easter ‘Locsolas’

Main Text: 

Hungary’s Easter ‘Locsolkodás’

Background on Informant: 

She was born and raised in Hungary, but moved to the United States in 1997. She is knowledgable of her roots and has lots of wisdom to share about its’ cultural traditions. She grew up in a religious family who practiced many Easter customs including the Easter ‘locsolas’ (‘sprinkling’)

Context: 

She explains: 

(Translated)

“During Easter (Húsvét), we have this custom called ‘locsolas’ (sprinkling).  Girls are symbolically viewed as flowers, and if they are not sprinkled they risk withering away. 

So on Easter Monday, men (dressed in traditional costumes) fill buckets with water and the girls gather in pretty traditional clothing as well and wait for the arrival of the men. 

Men also have tradition ‘sprinkling poems’ that they recite. The most popular is this one:

Zold erdobe jartam,

Kek ibolyat lattam, 

Elakart hervadni,

Szabad-e locsolni?

(Translated) 

I went to a green forest,

I saw a blue violet,

It was wilting,

Can I water it?

The girls have to agree to be ‘watered’ and then the men will ‘sprinkle’ them by dumping the buckets of water and the girls will reward them with painted eggs, desserts, and drinks. 

However, while it still happens, the buckets of water have evolved into less extreme things such as a spray of perfume or cologne. Although in the countryside they probably still stick to the buckets. 

My brother loved this holiday because he got a lot of food and chocolates, I liked it too but the water was always so cold. I used to want to get revenge and splash the boys right back. 

But as I got older, people resorted to simpler versions such as spraying perfume. 

It is one my favorite traditions because it is so simple and still practiced. It’s all in good fun” 

Analysis/Thoughts: 

Having grown up in this tradition too, it was interesting to hear a first-hand explanation of the event. For me, it’s more modern now with perfume as a simple way to continue the tradition but it was fascinating listening to my interviewers personal experiences with it.

From researching, I learned that this tradition started as far back as the 2nd century AD, and was a ritual meant to promote fertility and purification. Connecting it back with lessons in and readings studied in class, I definitely saw and was able to understand more clearly how this custom evolved. 

I like how this event is sort of a rite of passage and that it is a celebration that everyone in the culture partakes in. I also love how often many of these customs have died out or are dying out in Hungary, but this one remains a strong part of Hungary’s Easter cultural identity and is still very popular. Overall, I think it’s a wonderful traditional that can gather a community for some good fun. 

Annotations: 

For visual reference: 

Christ is Risen

Piece
R: “Christ is Risen!”
O: “He is Risen Indeed!”
Context
On Easter, one would greet another those they meet with “Christ is Risen!” and that person is supposed to respond with “He is Risen Indeed!”
The informant makes this exchange with people at their church and family members when waking them in the morning. They learned it from members of their childhood church.
My Thoughts
This exchange of ritualistic words is to celebrate and proclaim what Christians believe to be the most important part of Easter, the miracle of Christ’s resurrection. It is in response to Jesus’s benediction (after his resurrection) in Matthew 28:18-20: “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, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age”. It could also be a method of distinguishing who is a Christian and who isn’t throughout the day.

Ukrainian Easter Traditions

The following is a transcribed interview between me and interviewee, hereby further referred to as MT.

MT: We are Greek Catholics, so that’s basically between Greek orthodox and Roman Catholic and so we celebrate on the Greek Orthodox Easter, which is a week after the popular Roman Catholic Easter.

Me: Ok, and how do you celebrate Easter in your village in Ukraine?

MT: There are a lot of things that just have to be done on Easter, it’s kind of a big deal. So, one of the biggest things is this special bread called “Pascha.” My mom, and all the women, typically spend lots of time and make sure they have all the ingredients to make this fresh holiday bread. They also make sausage and jams and all sorts of stuff like that. But the bread is really the main thing – that simply cannot be substituted. And then when the food is done, usually it’s like a day or two in prep, they put a small bit of each kind of food and sometimes some other stuff, depending on how religious your family is, in a basket. Like, just a classic woven basket. 

And then they send one person from the family to the church with the basket so it can be blessed by the priest. Now, this part where us and our food gets blessed by the priest is like a game. So basically everyone waiting to be blessed by the priest stands in a large circle and the priest goes around blessing everyone and their stuff. And everyone makes room for everyone else like a large rotating circle like as soon as the priest blesses someone that spot gets switched out for someone else in the circle if it’s crowded. But no one can leave until the priest goes back to the center and blesses the cross and positions it perfectly. And so sometimes the priest goofs off and like takes his time doing that because everyone wants to rush, I mean like truly run home because supposedly the first one to get back home will be lucky the whole year. So the priest plays with them, if he’s fun, and then everyone fights to be the luckiest man of the year. It’s really funny but yeah we have to do that every year, the whole town gets involved. 

Me: Wow, cool. Do you also do colored eggs like in many other traditions?

MT: Oh, yeah. We do the colored eggs and stuff too, it’s a very busy time of year with lots of running round and food. Just so much food. 

Me: Hahaha

Background:

Interviewee, MT, is from LViv, Ukraine. His family is from a village called Rodatichi in Ukraine. He immigrated to America at age 13, but returns home for occasions. He has lived in Sherman Oaks, CA for the rest of his life thus far and has been happily married to my mom for 11 years. He has been a part of and seen this easter tradition happen all growing up.

Context:

This interview was conducted over lunch at our family home, so it was very casual. He has many stories about the customs of his country that he usually shares with me so it was just like any number of our usual conversations. 

Thoughts:This bread and blessing ceremony is interesting. The bread is pronounced pas-ka and in some languages, it is just the name of Easter. By collecting various Easter traditions from different countries, I’m learning that food and eggs typically play a big part in Easter festivities, no matter the region. What is interesting is that everything in this custom must be home-made. This must be because there have been minimal resources in villages and so women became the homemakers and chefs, especially for holidays. I liked the idea that this custom has grown and changed in order to have humor and recognize the simplicity of being blessed with holiday cheer. I’m sure not everyone can actually know if they were the first person home from church, but I bet it’s nice to think you are.

Tsougrisma

The following is a transcribed interview conducted over a video chat between me and interviewee, hereby further referred to as SM.

Me: So how do you celebrate Easter?

SM: Well, not all families do this, but my family plays this game every Easter called tsougrisma, it’s a Greek name but many countries have their variations, like Armenia – which is where I think we got it because our country houses many Armenians. Anyways, the game goes like this: each person picks an egg. And then, in pairs of two, they duel by hitting the eggs on top of each other and the first person who’s egg cracks loses. The goal is to have the hardest shelled egg or like some technique of holding it (but I’m not sure if I believe in technique, I think it’s mostly luck.) But yeah, so if your egg wins then you battle the other winners and you keep going like that until the two strongest eggs battle and the winner of that one is the super egg. Supposedly if your egg wins this, you will have great luck for the next year. 

Me: And do you dye the eggs, like in many other traditions?

SM: Oh yeah, we dye them all sorts of colors but I know my aunt’s families are more traditional in a lot of things they do and they dye them red each year for some reason. Sometimes we do it with their family too, because as you can imagine, the game is much more fun with more people – more eggs to battle!

Background:

Interviewee was born and raised in America, but his parents are both Lebanese. He lived in Dubai during his teen years and has always had very close ties to Lebanon. He visits Lebanon at least once a year and speaks with his parents regularly, where they speak in Arabic and often chat about history. They also all continually practice many Lebanese and Arabic traditions and share folklore. 

Context: 

This interview was conducted over a video call. Interviewee and I are romantically involved, so the conversation was very open and casual. He was very willing to help out and share some of his culture’s lore. 

Thoughts:

This was the first time that I had heard of this Easter tradition. It seems to be quite varied in what region celebrates this tradition because it is widespread, yet isn’t typically celebrated all over Lebanon. Interviewee is from the northern region of Lebanon from a village in the mountain called Al Coura. While it is possible that the tradition emerged from the villagers, because there are other variations of this tradition all over the Middle East and Greek-influenced countries that I think it is safe to say that interviewee’s family was influenced by the Greeks and adapted the tradition to make a fun Easter tradition with some historical significance. In the classic Greek or Armenian game, the smashing of the eggs is supposed to represent smashing of sin. And so, the winner is most sacred. While I’m sure it doesn’t hold the same sentiment in modern times, especially in non-religious families, it is still a fun way to celebrate.

Greek Orthodox Easter

The following is a transcribed interview conducted over a video chat between me and interviewee, hereby further referred to as WN.

Me: So when do you celebrate Easter?

WN: We celebrate Easter following the Julian Calendar, or the traditional calendar. This means that our Easter is one week after the non-Orthodox Easter, the one popular in America. This year we celebrated April 19th.

Me: And why do you celebrate it one week after?

WN: Oh, because there’s a huge feud of the calendars between the Orthodox Church and the modern church. The argument is that we should be celebrating on the actual day it was supposed to be celebrated on than the day that fits with the Pagan calendar. 

Me: What do you mean that the other Easter fits with the Pagan calendar?

WN: Well, once there started getting many popular religions, there was a split between the Roman Catholic church and the Greek Orthodox. The Catholic church altered and adhered to a different calendar while we stuck with the original Julian Calendar. 

Me: Ok, cool thank you!

Background:

Interviewee was born and raised in a village called Bechmezzine in Al Coura, Lebanon. He is the Uncle of a close friend of mine who was gracious enough to speak with me. He is a fluent English speaker and has spent lots of time in America, as some of his family lives here, but he currently lives in Lebanon. He is a christian and his native language is Arabic. 

Context: 

This interview was conducted on a video call. Because he is my dear friend’s uncle, we had spoken some before this conversation but not often. That being said, the conversation was really casual and he was very willing to share some of his folklore. 

Thoughts:

This is an example in some of the variations on holidays, especially Christian holidays. Each region celebrates their own versions of holidays – especially religious holidays. The variation is endless and it was nice to hear exactly why Lebanon, in particular, celebrates the Greek Orthodox Easter. While some other countries do, each one has their own reasoning. The reasoning here is clearly that they believe they are being truer to the religion and the purpose of the holidays by honoring Easter, as is customary to determine the Greek Orthodox. So, in short, they are just being extra cautious and traditional when celebrating on this day, despite being not as traditional in many other ways. 
For more explanation on why this holiday is on this day, see here: https://www.timeanddate.com/holidays/common/orthodox-easter-day