Art and Faith

Saturday, 1 March 2008

Is it Lent Yet?

Filed under: Christian,contemporary,domestic,Orthodox,religious — 01varvara @ 00.00

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Is it Lent yet?

Not for Orthodox Christians it isn’t!

Well, when DO you have have Ash Wednesday?

We DON’T. That’s a purely Western feast. Lent simply starts on the first Monday of Lent, that’s it, and no great deal is made of it.

What are you giving up for Lent?

Huh? We don’t have a choice in the matter. There are people who memorise long lists of rules… we’re not talking of such sorts now. Basically, Orthodox Christians refrain from eating meat, eggs, and dairy products during all four lents, including the Great Lent before Easter. Yes, there are four, ain’t we lucky… no time to go into that now, though.

Why do you start on Monday?

Because we do. Because you don’t. This is the sort of question a certain sort jumps on and gives a long explanation. No need of that, TRADITION, in a word.

What about Mardi Gras? Don’t you have fun?

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We have something even better! We call it Maslenitsa, “Butter Week”. For a WHOLE WEEK we pig out on all the things we shouldn’t be eating during Lent. We often call Maslenitsa “Pancake Week” because we scarf down amazing quantities of blini (leavened buckwheat pancakes) slathered in butter and covered with all sorts of great stuff. Such feasting is accompanied with copious quantities of the “real thing”… VODKA.

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On top of this, we go on sleigh rides, jump into holes chopped in the ice, have catch-as-catch-can ‘rasslin’ matches, have sack fights, go to bonfires, and generally have tons o’ fun, especially on Rowdy Thursday. Thanks for asking.

How long does Lent last for you?

The same as for you, until Easter. 😉 Seriously, the Lent lasts for 40 days before Easter, but, there are added calculations that only interest theologians, but, “40 days” is the short good-sense answer.

When does Lent start this year for you?

On Monday 10 March, a week from this Monday. This Sunday is the Sunday of the Last Judgement, the week coming up is Maslenitsa, and next Sunday is Forgiveness Sunday. On Forgiveness Sunday, we ask forgiveness of everyone we have wronged in the past year. I heard that, Bill… No! Not that many… no, I’m not going to tell you if “you are close”. This is serious. (It is… one DOES one’s best to clean up one’s messes on this day, it is an important part of Lent).

How come you don’t have Lent and Easter the same as everyone else?

Because we’re ornery and contrary… no, there are two different calculations, but, the details don’t matter to ordinary folk.

“Shall you come to my Easter party next week?”

“But Easter is this week!”

“Not for us… oh, Happy Easter, by the way… shall you come to my Easter party next week?”

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“Is baba baking her Easter thingy, you know what I mean?”

“You can’t have Easter without a kulich, dear! When can we expect you?”

“Is it still at 3 am?”

“Only the first part after the service. We take a nap, visit our family graves, and start partying again. See ‘ya at four?”

“That sounds good!”

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