Easter in Slovakia

Trip Start Apr 17, 2001
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Slovakia  ,
Sunday, April 8, 2007


 Ellen can get caught up in as many as three conversations with her relatives at the same time. At lightening speed they hammer away as she tries to keep up with her limited command of the Slovak language. It must be like trying to listen to several heavy metal bands simultaneously then having to decipher the words and meanings of each. Couple this with me jumping in every so often:
"What does this word mean? What did he say? Why are they looking at me like that?"
It makes for some stressful days for the overpressed Ellen. Once in mid-conversation she stopped and began muttering to herself
"Ticket... ticket...how do you say ticket?"
Coming from god knows where, "Listok" I said calmly.
She looked at me, mouth open wide as though a tree or bird had given her the answer, then jumped right back into the fray.

Yesterday, the day before Easter, we did a 500km road trip to Eastern Slovakia with Ellen's cousin Martin and his wife Zdenka. The town of Kosice, Slovakia's second largest, sits about 70 km from the Ukraine border. We visited several ancient churches in small and not so small towns along the way. In each church, off from the altar, there was what seemed to be a funeral service. People lined up to walk to the body which was not in a casket but lying on a slab with a sheet covering it. It wasn't until after the third church that I clued in. It was Saturday, the day after Good Friday, the day before Easter. People were lining up to pay homage to an image of Jesus as he lay in death.

Back home in Brusno that evening, men dressed in suits and Fedoras, women in black, marched to the tiny white church on the hill. At 10:00 p.m. church bells rang in the quiet little village. 

It's a good time to be in what was once the godless Eastern bloc. Today it is said that Jesus rose from the grave, just as not so many years ago Communism crumbled and Christianity ascended once again from its ashes.
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