Feliz Páscoa is Happy Easter in Portuguese.
Last year we were fortunate to be home in Canada for Easter weekend, in between assignments from China to Brazil. We are celebrating Easter this year in Brazil. We came to Sao Paulo this weekend with the hope of attending an English speaking church service. I have to say that is one thing we REALLY miss about living in Brazil. In Resende, everything is Portuguese. Easter Sunday is definitely the Sunday we want to be at church. So…I emailed a friend in Canada that used to live in Sao Paulo and he suggested Calvary International Church. It is the church he and his family attended when they were here. Sunday morning we got up bright and early and went to the early morning service.
There was lots of great music ( songs we know) scripture, drama, testimonies…a wonderful worship time. Pastor Bill Fawcett and his wife are sweet ( they remind me of the MacKenzies) and they remembered Cary ( our friend who recommended the church). It was so nice. It’s just too bad it’s 300km to Sao Paulo!
Normally on Easter after church, we would have Easter egg hunts with the kids and have a delicious ham dinner. Ham has been the choice Easter dinner in our family since I was a child just like Christmas and Thanksgiving are Turkey, and New Year’s Day is Ham. Well, you just don’t find restaurants serving Ham Dinner with all the fixins in Brazil. (By the way, I made a delicious ham dinner last week) In Brazil, foods associated with Easter include not only the sweet (the HUGE Chocolate eggs) but the salty. Eating salt cod (in Portuguese bacalhau) is traditional throughout the country. Yep, salt cod! Brazilians love bacalhau and serve it in many forms year-round, not just at Easter time. This is part of the culinary heritage that Brazil received from its former colonial power, Portugal. The smell of this salted fish drifts from one aisle to another in supermarkets and few shoppers leave the market without at least a small package of salt cod and a chocolate Easter egg. That’s the Brazilian Easter tradition!
We enjoyed bacalhau yesterday and today had Japanese shrimp & veggie tempura, Brazil style! I love these places and never miss an opportunity to try street and market food!
One of the most beautiful traditions in Holy Week in Brazil is the decoration of streets for the Sunday procession. In many of the colonial cities like Ouro Preto in Minas Gerais state, people create colorful carpets with wood shavings, flour, coffee, flowers and other elements the night before Sunday for the procession to walk on. They also like to hang colorful throws and cloths from windows.
We didn’t catch any of the Sunday processions but at our hotel Friday, I woke up from an afternoon nap to the sound of music coming from the street. Instead of going outside, we went to the rooftop. We had a great view of the Good Friday procession around the block.
We REALLY miss HOME during the holidays BUT, it is a wonderful experience to be in a different country for major holidays, to see how other countries and cultures celebrate. We are very thankful for all the experiences we’ve had over the last few years.