As Easter approaches, I'm entertaining nice thoughts about past holidays: the smiles . . . a little something that stuck in the mind's eye -- a panoply of tulips near the front steps to my mother's house and when I opened the door the aroma of good things cooking in the kitchen flooded my senses. Yes, that's what happy memories do. They flood the senses and wrap the soul in warm fuzzies.
Such is the feeling now. Even though it's cold outside and spring's a no-show, I feel warmed and blessed by so much. So many good things. From the Hallmark angel my niece gave me to family trips and gatherings to an Easter in another country that was also very, very nice.
In 2004, my husband and I spent Easter in Thessaloniki. It's a traveler's story for a lazy afternoon as to how this came to be, but, suffice it to say, we were delighted it did. Even if we aren't Greek Orthodox and even if Easter's dates float among the Christian faiths, it didn't matter. Oh, but life's roller coaster can take some magical turns. I'd like to share one of those turns. Come on. Don't be shy. Put on your virtual Nike's. We've got some hoofing to do before we get to what infused the senses . . .
|The port is huge, one of the largest in Europe. (Wikipedia)|
|Not far from the Square were more coffee houses and restaurants along the corniche. In one direction, the corniche led to the White Tower . . .|
|The White Tower is the city's signature landmark. It is one of 15 UNESCO World Heritage sites in Thessaloniki, also considered Greece's cultural center by many. Love that corniche! (Wikipedia)|
|But regardless of where we went, from the moment we stepped into our hotel lobby, Red Easter Eggs were on counters in every shop everywhere one went. No one I saw took an egg, but everyone was careful not to bump the bowl of eggs at the counter. It was amazing to stop for coffee and see the bowl of red eggs or go into shop after shop and there they were, magnificent, absolutely glorious in their simplicity. I would later spend another Easter in a Christian Orthodox country with the same custom of displaying red eggs, but this display wasn't on the magnitude found in Thessaloniki. I later learned that Greece is known for its Easter celebrations, and many Greek-Americans trek to Greece in order to be there for the holiest day on the Orthodox calendar. (Note: Commercial dyes exist to color the eggs, but many prefer to boil the eggs in a bit of vinegar added to water that includes the skins of yellow (Spanish) onions.) (Food Network)|
|I'll never forget the red Easter eggs, Orthodoxy's symbol of the blood of Christ and the re-birth, in a simple bowl in an old church with bay leaves on the floor.|