We were reminded of the Easter when husband Mike and friend Bob were in Eastern Turkey to make a documentary. They went with Kenan, a young Armenian believer, to his home in the village of Midyat and experienced first-hand their history and traditions.
An elderly woman, who witnessed the persecutions and massacres between 1915 and 1917, remembered how the men were arrested, imprisoned for a few days and then marched out of town and shot, their bodies thrown in a well. She was only a young girl back then following the procession that led her own father, brothers, uncles, cousins away to their deaths. As she relived that day, she began to sing the very hymn the men had sung as they marched to their execution.
Bob recalls that Sunday 35 years ago: the early morning trek across the valley to the centuries-old Armenian church and cemetary on the hill; the long line of people in their brightest Easter clothes; the simple service in a foreign tongue--an unforgettable, most touching remembrance of Christ's resurrection.
The celebrating continued in the homes. The two men accompanied Kenan as he visited his friends. In each home they were treated as honored guests. First they were offered cologne to wash their hands before partaking of fruit and treats. Then there was the Easter game: host and guest each take a boiled egg (all colored solid red) and strike one another's on the point. The person whose egg cracks loses and must hand his over.
Finally they ended up in Kenan's home for the special Easter meal which consisted of a whole roasted lamb, bulgur (steamed cracked wheat), spring onions, and various side dishes. The host served the meat tearing pieces from the animal and handing them to each person. A wonderfully tasty meal, spoiled slightly by the impression that the lamb was staring at the guests! (The head had not been removed.)
After retelling the story of that Easter long ago, as a family we reenacted the Easter game.