Second Day of the Easter Triduum: Good Friday

Good Friday is the second day of the Easter Triduum, followed right after Holy Thursday. For Catholics around the world, it means fasting, even if the requirements are different for different countries. For example, in America Catholics ages 14 and up must abstain from meat and ages 18-59 must fast by eating only one full meal and two half meals that can not be greater than the full meal when put together. In addition only water and milk, and no other drinks may be consumed. On the other hand, here in Poland, there still is fasting and abstaining, but unlike in America everyone who is able to must fast if they are over the age of 18. Of course there are some exceptions to the fasting rules in all countries. For example, pregnant and breastfeeding mothers, those who are sick, and those who are on a special diet are exempt in both countries, but additionally, in America, if one is traveling then that person is basically exempt. Also the rules are stricter in America than they are here in Poland as to what and how much can and can’t be eaten.

On Good Friday, in the Catholic Church there are usually prayer/Eucharistic services with adoration of the cross and sometimes Stations of the Cross happening to commemorate that Jesus died on the cross on Friday and spent three hours on it, but was later taken down and given a proper burial in a tomb. There are no full on masses from the Holy Thursday Mass to the Easter Vigil Mass to commemorate the suffering and death of Christ and to remember that on the third day He rose again from the dead. Usually Good Friday is a solemn day to remember these things. Tomorrow is Holy Saturday, which means that we will be decorating intricately the Easter eggs and going to bless the Easter baskets that symbolize what we will be eating on Easter Day. Apparently, even non-believers are mesmerized by the tradition of blessing the Easter baskets/food and do it themselves as well.

Here in Poland, all of the food that is eaten on Easter has to be prepared ahead of time, so the friend’s daughter came over with her son again, as well as her mother. We made homemade pierogies, even though the flour that we used made them practically impossible to roll out the dough and to pinch the edges together, and the meat that we used for the filling was also impossible to grind because the machine we had to use is extremely old and the meat was not cooked long enough, which made it even harder to grind. We will find out tomorrow how they turned out when we eat them with the beet soup for dinner.

In addition, the family friend made another walnut cake type dessert. The one she made yesterday overcooked, so it was a little bit browner than it should have been, and she even cried. I, personally think it turned out really well, but she said that when it is baked to the right color it tastes even better, so I’ll see tomorrow how it compares with the first one.

Other than playing with the baby and making the pierogies, today was another laid back and chill day, which I am grateful for. That is all for today, and I will update again tomorrow with how well the decorating of the eggs goes for us, and I may be able to even include a few photos to go along with the post, so stay tuned.

Relaxing First Day of Easter Break

Today was a nice break from my crazy, normal week. This is because it was a relaxing and rather laid back day, which I do not get when I am in my dorm room or during a normal week. Again, for some reason I am writing this after midnight.

Normally during the week I have to wake up at 6:00 or 9:30 in the morning depending on what day of the week it is and I usually don’t/can’t fall asleep until well after midnight, so my body does not get the adequate amount of sleep that it needs. This is even true on the weekends, because my one of my roommates usually wakes up around 9 or I have to wake up at like 8 or so to use the bathroom and as hard as I try to fall back asleep until about 11, I can’t, so I basically do not get enough sleep. During the week, on the nights that I know I have to wake up early the next morning, I try to go to sleep around 10:30 or so, but my roommates are still up and they like to leave the lights on, so I usually can’t fall asleep until at least one of them goes to sleep after midnight.

I told you this because last night I got to sleep in my own room, with no distractions to keep me awake either during the night or in the morning (even though I went to sleep well after midnight – that may have had something to do with it as well) and I slept in until noon. It was really nice. It seems that the later I go to sleep, the faster and easier I am able to fall asleep. In addition, it seems as if writing this blog has begun to help me to fall asleep faster/earlier because I am able to get the thoughts/happenings of my day out of my brain, which allows it to be nearly empty and for me not to have any thoughts circulating around my brain to think about before bed.

Before I woke up, the family friend’s daughter came over with her five-month old son and they stayed for a few hours, so it was nice to hang out with them and play with the baby. Also, the friend’s mom came over and we decided to make this type of dessert, even though I did not help at all with it, unlike when we decided to make mini pierogies for a party the friend’s were hosting the next day.

After they all left, which was around 4:30 or so, the friend had to teach a two-hour English lesson, so I had some time to myself to relax. Later in the evening, the friend’s other daughter came over¬†with her husband¬†because she had to find some documents for the job that she will soon be starting. After they had found the documents, we ate kolacja, which is like the american lunch,but during dinner time. This is because the Polish eat their dinner during our lunchtime. After we finished eating, I had the rest of the evening to myself.

All in all, today was a nice, relaxing day that is a nice respite from my normal day-to-day life of attending classes and doing homework. Today was Holy Thursday, but in the Catholic Church, one is not necessarily required to attend a mass, but it is optional and it is the mass where random people, at least in the parish I attend at home, get their feet washed by the priest to symbolize Jesus washing the feet of his disciples. The mass is to symbolize the last supper that Jesus had with his disciples and it is the last mass before the Easter vigil mass that takes place the night before Easter, even though a church can have a prayer service of Good Friday, having a full on mass is not appropriate. Tomorrow is Good Friday, which means fasting and abstaining from meat, which I will explain further in tomorrow’s post and more about the Easter traditions of the Polish culture as Sunday approaches quickly, but today is too late for me to explain it, so I will on either Saturday or Sunday. Good night!