12 April 2012 19:49

By Bev Orton Jennings
While I’m not particularly religious (sorry Mum), the build up to Easter in Cyprus really is something special.
The air seems taut with expectation and a real vibrancy courses through everyday life. I never noticed this back in the UK. As a child, growing up back in Blighty, the only real anticipation ahead of Easter (apart from the school holiday) was how many choccy eggs I'd receive. As an adult, it was how much those choccy eggs were going to cost! (And, if I'm honest, it was still about how many I'd receive. Still is..!)
Obviously, the religious significance of the occasion is still considerable in Cyprus... even if our island is changing faster than many of us care for. I think most of us are also somewhat energized by the time of year - spring bringing with it a sense of hope and renewal, especially after the soggy winter we've all just endured. I look forward to the Easter weekend, to seeing the faith that many people still possess... not an easy thing in this day and age. I also look forward to the delicious aromas that waft on the breeze from my neighbours' kitchens. In my village, many of the housewives still prepare the traditional delicacies. I only ever did battle with making flaounes once, never to be repeated. I now buy them from the bakery, much to my family's relief.
Planning for the village's Easter celebrations has been well underway for a couple of weeks now. How do I know? Well, the first inkling was a hell of a racket being kicked up from the road at the front of my house. I dashed to look what was going on, but really shouldn't have worried. It was only a twenty-foot tree trunk, that had been tied to the back of a tatty pick up with an equally tatty length of rope. Now rolling down the hill, it was being pursued down the street by a group of laughing teens. They quickly reattached it and off it went, continuing its ceremonial journey to the rapidly growing bonfire being prepared for the early hours of Easter Sunday. Welcome to village life! I was especially impressed by said youngsters, who stood proud on the back of the pick up, like noble warriors returning victorious from the hunt.
One thing I’ll never get used to is the amount of noise associated with Easter here. Especially in the run up to the event, when youngsters are obviously engaged in a development and testing phase for the high explosives they'll wield in the streets in the early hours of Easter Sunday. I’ve already been woken up several times in the middle of the night by a lone blast that sounded big enough to demolish property. I guess it's all good practice for the big night itself, when the spare ground opposite my house is often requisitioned for a very, very late night barbeque... and the noise levels have been known to reach epic (even biblical) proportions.
I don't really mind too much (though my dogs would disagree), I just hope that there aren't any injuries this year due to homemade fireworks... or too many people admitted to casualty through overindulgence.
Now, where have those eggs gone...
Happy Easter everyone.