Magpie Tales 8: The Lamb and The Eggs

Author: angiem, 04 04th, 2010

On Good Friday we paint our eggs.  We wash them well in soapy water, boil them in a water and vinegar mixture on low heat, and line the table with newspapers.  The entire family is over as it is a time of great celebration.  The children are playing in the yard, leading the lamb all around the acacias on a leash of gold braided cord.  The six of us women are inside, adding raisins, chocolate and the mixture of finely chopped walnuts to the sweet dough of the babkas we are soon to bake.

At sundown when the eggs are ready to be painted the children come in and gather around the table.  The men, somber and quiet, leave their chess games and prayer books and go outside and kill the lamb.  Only they know the seriousness and the symbolism behind what they do.  They don’t splash any blood on door posts, they don’t chant any prayers.  It is a time to be cautious, not stupid.  But we will all sleep under the same roof tonight.

“Grandma, grandma, tell us the story of the red eggs,” the children ask.  Their cheeks are ruddy from a day spent in the brisk spring air.  And grandma sighs and sits herself in her chair at the table. The rest of us fall silent and contemplative, thinking of all that had passed to bring us to this moment.

“Almost 2000 years ago tonight, Christ the son of the Virgin Mary was dying on a cross, to save us from our sins.”  Grandma begins, and her eyes fill with tears.  She knows what it is to lose a son, her youngest had died years ago.  ”And His mother, just like any other, was broken hearted.  She gathered some eggs from her chickens and boiled them to take for Him to eat.  She placed them in a linen napkin in the prettiest woven basket she could find.  But when she got there, she was beside herself with sadness.  Her son was suffering greatly.  He was bleeding and in pain, and all she could do was clasp His feet to her.  As His holy blood poured over the eggs, it colored them the brightest shade of red.”

To keep the children from crying over the lamb, we gather field flowers, bitter greens and grasses on Saturday.  We prepare the lamb feast for Sunday after the sun goes down, and the little ones are asleep.

On Sunday, the children awaken to find the fresh grass nests they had prepared the day before filled with candy treats.  They select an egg from the many colored ones and knock them against each other’s exclaiming, “Christ is risen,” and responding “Christ is risen indeed.”  We dress in our newest clothes, clothes from far away relations who have escaped the horror of our daily lives, and walk down our cobblestone street to the tram.  Like everyone else, we are going to church.

Happy Easter!

For more more egg stories, go to #mce_temp_url#.

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46 Responses to “Magpie Tales 8: The Lamb and The Eggs”

  1. julie Says:

    Beautiful Angie
    My favourite easter was spent celebrating Greek easter with some friends… the church service was the most beautiful I have attended then after we celebrated at their home with wonderful food and the same egg game [I won!]… “Christos Anesti” and, in response, “Alithos Anesti” . Hope your easter is special.. xx Julie

  2. Beth Says:

    A mixture of sorrow and joy – at Easter and throughout life.
    A lovely story and so well written.

    Hope you are feeling better and that your Easter morning is a joyous one…

  3. Kathy Says:

    Happy Easter!

  4. Kristin Says:

    Happy Easter!!

  5. Jena Says:

    Beautiful story Angie. It made me think about being Jewish during the Holocaust. Is it about that? Beautiful. Happy Easter to you.

  6. Ava Says:

    A Happy Easter to you as well, dear Angie. This is a haunting story of Innocence and loss.

  7. Mary Moon Says:

    Such a writer you are! Cherish the jewel of your gift. It, too, is sacred.

  8. Jeanne Says:

    A very touching story Angie and beautifully told in your special way. I always need peace and quiet around me when I read your posts…I do not want to miss a single word. Just lovely. Hope you are having a wonderful day :(
    Jeanne x

  9. Jeanne Says:

    Oopss sorry…it was not meant to be a sad face…
    :) :) :) :) :) :)

  10. audrey Says:

    very nice story Angie! for me, it reminds me that life indeed is a complex mix of the joyous and the sorrowful…but we try to live and be as best we can. Easter morning is such a beautiful reminder of hope and the idea of when all else seems to be without life, still, life begins all new again. And the celebration of Christ’s resurrection is a great comfort and joy!

    Have a beautiful day, and hope you are feeling better. Sending love…

  11. Diane Says:

    Beautiful tradition. Thank you for sharing your family’s history.

  12. Bebe Says:

    A poignant tale. which you’ve told beautifully. Happy Easter!

  13. Allegra Smith Says:

    A lovely remembrance, and an homage to your upbringing where faith and tradition gave you the values you hold today. Happy Easter to you and your lovely family.

  14. Pete Says:

    That’s a lovely tradition. My mother, who was Swiss, used to do the vinegar / onion thing too with half the eggs and we woulfd paint the rest. Then on Easter Sunday, we’d go out into the fields of long grass and throw them up as high as we could. When they cracked, we got to eat them.

  15. LisaB Says:

    tradition at holiday is some of the best comfort, a thread that binds us and lets us know we are love. charming story. I feel as if I were there.

  16. SJ Says:

    Did you write this? Beautiful…and I never knew this about the eggs. Love to you on this Easter and I”m excited to see you soon.

  17. Ida Says:

    Lovely story!!
    Happy Easter!

  18. Theresa Says:

    What a story! Come say hi and check out my music giveaway.

  19. Tumblewords Says:

    Delightful story. Traditions are wonderful!

  20. Christie Says:

    So, so beautiful. This is the first time I’ve heard the story of the red eggs. Thank you for sharing this beautiful story.

  21. Sabine Says:

    What a lovely story. Wishing you happy Easter Days with your family, Angie!

  22. Becky Ramsey Says:

    Truly beautiful story, Angie. I love it.

  23. Cindy L. Says:

    You have such wonderful family traditions … I am truly envious! I love reading about them … and the egg in the photo is just beautiful! My Ukrainian friends down the street (when I was a child) made the most beautiful, ornate Easter eggs. A wonderful memory too.

  24. Joanny Says:

    A beautiful Easter Tale and woven in so well with the magpie prompt..

    I was going to make red colored Easter eggs — but did not get to it,, it was much better reading about it in your story,

    Joanny

  25. The Bug Says:

    Beautiful story - I’d like to hear more about “the horror of our daily lives…”

  26. Laura [What I Like] Says:

    I love this…Easter used to be sort of a big deal when I was child…my mom would prepare very elaborate easter baskets and my dad would spend ages hiding easter eggs in the back yard. But as an adult I have to admit that I miss having something to celebrate. How wonderful to live your celebration vicariously!

  27. Catalyst Says:

    Very nicely written, Angie!

  28. Bridgette Says:

    I’m still crying over the lamb.

  29. Stephanie @ La Dolce Vita Says:

    Hope you had a very Happy Easter! We enjoyed our red eggs, the lamb and all the yummies that go with them!

  30. Katherine Says:

    Angie this was a truly moving story! Very beautifully written.

  31. brian miller Says:

    your writing is rich with tradition that feels like a favorite pair of socks. a comfortable easy flow that leaves one with a smile.

  32. Susan Says:

    Thanks, Angie. Very evocative…

    I love Easter in the eastern part of Europe & southern (Greece/Italy). With friends in the States who celebrate Orthodox Easter, too. Can’t handle the lamb slaughtering though. One side of my family raised sheepses (or sheepini, if you prefer:) for wool. Thank goodness.

    I freak out (in my personal quarters ahead of time) when I’ve had to be at the scene of a feast (cows, chickens have played a part, too). But I’ve kept it to myself for cultural reasons (I’ve been the guest of honor). I decided long ago that this is why God invented alcohol & Xanax. I understand if you don’t OK this comment. Not recommending either one & certainly not at same time.:)

    It’s been so frenzied here that for the first time in memory, on Easter Monday, all the white eggs I purchased for Easter festivities remain virginal white. No time to dress’em up. Eep.

    ciao!

  33. Peg Says:

    Lovely - I really like the way the true meaning of Easter is woven into a story of celebration

  34. Francesca Says:

    What a haunting story. Easter has now turned into a joyful egg hunt, and I hope that reflects the fact that more people have escaped the horror of their daily life.

  35. Holly L Says:

    Seriously, everything you write its amazing. What a wonderful and amazing picture you paint with your words.

  36. French Fancy Says:

    I do love how you can tell a story, Angie.

  37. robin Says:

    That was beautifully written and shared…bittersweet…and certainly puts perspective to the somewhat commercial and material state of sacred holidays today…Thanks for visiting…Im glad you did..!

  38. Se'lah Says:

    Wonderfully written, Angie.

    Hope you enjoyed the Easter holiday.
    one love.

  39. deb @ talk at the table Says:

    rich, rich in imagery and texture and layers and emotion.

    and I thought of you too , over the weekend. It was strangely wonderful this year. As the kids get older, things change, and we embrace new. Including the fact that we’d didn’t end up going to Mass. But that is all fine. We are loved.

    so are you

  40. Stephanie Says:

    Beautiful story, beautifully told.!

  41. Phoenix Says:

    I’m not sure I could kill the lamb… but hearing about these traditions is fascinating. It sounds like you had a wonderful holiday, Angie :)

  42. rick Says:

    Angie
    hope your easter was wonderful and isn’t the blood covering lovely?
    ~rick

  43. mrsbear Says:

    That was absolutely lovely. Beautifully written, as usual. Hope you and yours enjoyed the holiday. :)

  44. Make Do Style Says:

    Beautiful story xx

  45. miss cavendish Says:

    We did not decorate eggs this year, alas. Maybe it’s not too late!

  46. Elisa_Croatia Says:

    OH what a wonderful celebration. Beautiful post. thanks for sharing with us. It was interesting to read about the story of the ‘red eggs’. I was just introduced to the tradition of cracking eggs.

    Glad I found you via Alice, and by the way your About ME page is so inviting great pictures of your home and your family is beautiful.

    Saludos

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