Easter Memories from Communist România!

Once upon a time, there was communism in România, a small country in Eastern Europe… For most, it was so insignificant, they called Bucharest, The capital of România, Budapest, which is the capital of Hungary, the neighboring country.
România and Hungary did have one thing in common: Communism!!!

Today, as I get ready to visit with my friends, waves of memories flooded my now peaceful mind.
For millions celebrating Easter was one of the forbidden apples!!!
As a child and young woman I was instructed by my parents to never, ever admit to any of the Easter traditions, not even the Bunny and the eggs! Come to think of it… I have no recollaction of a bunny or egg hunts to delight us, the children who believed in miracles!
WHAT I do recall, was how the colored Shell of eggs was carefully wrapped and thrown away in some public trash can, so that if “they” looked through our garbage, no evidence of criminal activities could be found!

The climax of Easter excitment, which for me lasted until 1981 when I defected from then communist România, was the mid- night celebration at churches allover my homeland! Hundreds of people, their candles like magical stars lighting the dark, mysterious sky…
Our eyes lift to the Heavens, trusting the denied Son of God was real! Faith!!! Many people had Faith but I was confused:
Did He really die and then He came back? Is He really the son of God? Did he really choose to come back in a hateful, undeserving world?
How about our sins? Could He absolve us of all the Evil we did if we believe in Him?

In those times, when I was a child and later a young woman, such thoughts never crossed my mind! Until I was in college I didn’t know WHAT was the book called Bible!
WHAT, as million other youth knew, was the pure practical aspect of this forbidden celebration. Here is WHAT I did know:

Don’t tell people you celebrate Easter! Just family and close friends.
The celebration for me consisted more in the geathering of so many people around a Church, at mid- night, the secret around not disclosing to anyone that I went to Church ! On top of the my list of cons and pros was the feast we, Romanians, faithful or not, indulged in after the mid-night service.

Here is my favorite tradition:

Two people choose a colored egg. There is a technique to picking one with a hard shell, which resists the hard tapping with the other person’s egg.
After both people choose the egg they believed would be the uncracked winner, we held our egg in our hand and say:

“HRISTOS A ÎNVIAT!!! (Christ is risen!)

As we say this, we tap the other person’s egg with the intention to crack ITS Shell!
The other person says:

“Adevărat, a înviat!” (Indeed, He has risen!)

Of course the hardest egg shell is declared the winnet!!!
After we geathered a good amount of shell- cracked eggs, the reward was peeling and eating the “defeated” eggs:)

Memories… like pearls hidden in cracks of our minds!

Hmm… this topic about Faith, God and the son of God … I Could write about it forever in the hope a miracle happens and I stop questioning!
Meanwhile, Nextweek I will make and post my egg salad recipe!
While I am still confused about WHAT is really important at Easter time, I am not confused about the delicious food which comes along with it!
As I continue to struggle, question and be deeply concerned about the Evil everywhere in our world, I force myself to have Faith… to believe!
Meanwhile I, we, could do the best we Could in our small world, in our daily lives!

As I continue to take small steps on the road of Faith, and sometimes I fall, I DO get up and continue to hope the path I walk tips the balance in favor of Good!

If you, like me, are confused and uncertain, please continue to take small, good steps. At least we walk in the right direction…

Happy Easter!
Rodica M.
I

1 thought on “Easter Memories from Communist România!

  1. This paper examines the mnemonic battle fought over the Romanian communist past between the active forces of intellectual democratic elites and the passive resistance of the majority of the population. The former try to impose a narrative of cultural trauma regarding the communist past against the latter’s popular resistance expressed by strong nostalgic attachments towards the same communist past. The paper investigates the formation of the new official consensus on the communist legacy as cultural trauma, proposing a three stage sequence of its articulation: i) the breakthrough made by detention memorialistic literature in the aftermath of 1989 Revolution; ii) the officialization of ‘communism-as-cultural-trauma’ narrative by the Tismaneanu Report condemning the communist regime; iii) the institutionalization of the cultural trauma narrative in the educational system. All these struggles over the memory of communism from the part of the anticommunist political elites are tacitly countered by strong popular nostalgia, as revealed by extensive survey data

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