Shnor-ha-vor (soorp) za-deeg
Easter Sunday was a big deal in our Armenian church when I was growing up. Of course, it was the fifties and sixties, so standards and expectations were quite different then. In many ways, that’s a loss for kids of today.
Weeks before Easter, preparations were made, both at the church and in the homes of members.
Solicitations appeared in the church bulletin and weekly service programs for donations of lilies and other décor for the altar and other parts of the church.
Choir practice ramped up to make choices about just the right music and ensure that the members of the choir knew and could sing the chosen pieces well. All amateurs, planning and practice was essential to our (yes, I was in the choir) performing respectably – sometimes even commendably!
And in homes all over Troy, NY and nearby, even the least financially endowed church members pieced together the money to buy Easter outfits, complete with hats, purses, gloves, and often white patent leather shoes. In our family, that sometimes included new spring coats as well, although that didn’t happen every year. Even on non-holiday Sundays, we dressed up for church. But Easter pushed that to another level. The downside of that plan in the great northeast was the likelihood of frigid and sometimes snowy or rainy weather that interfered with the planned image!
On ordinary Sundays the church enjoyed modest attendance, regulars who were there every Sunday barring unforeseen circumstances. On Easter when I was a child, it was standing room only, a circumstance that both thrilled and baffled me. Where were all those people on other Sundays? You might say I had somewhat of an all-or-nothing view of the world around me in those days.
Easter today still is celebrated among Christians, but there seem to be fewer of us who actively practice our faith. My church is closed—others are, too. It’s a loss on many fronts. But people and our country evolve.
And the good news is Easter still is celebrated by millions, in this country and around the world. The revered Notre Dame Cathedral won’t be holding services this Easter, but who can ignore the message of the miraculous survival of the glowing cross and other significant symbols among the embers and ashes?
Till next time….
Gu des-nu-veenk no-ren
I’ll see you again!