Shampoo, conditioner, and a hard-boiled egg.
I showered with an egg today.
It’s one of many Easter traditions here. (Orthodox Easter is this weekend.) My host mom and I boiled the eggs before sunrise yesterday. (Another tradition – she actually checked out the window to make sure we were still ahead of the sun at one point.) One of my coworkers said while she wasn’t sure of the exact origin of the tradition, she thinks it has something to do with Jesus’ mother mourning him before the sun came up. We colored them red, the traditional color here, and she told me that one of the eggs was for showering.
Whenever a sentence sounds weird, I assume my language skills are failing, so I had her explain this to me several times, with lots of pantomiming to make sure that I understood correctly.
Yep. You shower with the egg.
You’re also supposed to say, Црвено, бело, здраво, дебело. That translates to red, white, healthy and the last word is thick or fat. I sort of wanted to say “слаби despite eating all the cake this weekend,” but I went with tradition.
To recap: boiled and colored eggs before sunrise on Thursday and then today, showered with one of said eggs while repeating a Macedonian phrase for luck and good health in the coming year.
Learning all the traditions here has been one of my favorite parts of my service. There is no shortage of traditions and they aren’t always national. Each region makes holidays their own. For instance, some of the other volunteers thought Rachel and I were crazy when we said we were showering with eggs and suggested we name them before such an intimate experience. (I named mine Hercules.)
My coworkers said the eggs you boil before sunrise won’t smell all year. I thought this was bananas, but my host mom pulled out the decorations today, which included one of the eggs from each of the last ten years at least. No funky egg smell.
Another regional Easter tradition is buying something ceramic to use all year. My coworkers also said you’re supposed to wear something new to the midnight church service on Saturday. (Skipping that tradition, because I’m poor.)
We also baked up a storm today. We made a sweet bread stuffed with dried cranberries and homemade jam and including enough margarine to close about an artery and a half. We also made a delicious cake – two actually. We added a pudding based frosting/filling, then wrapped one cake around the other. (Genius.) My wonderful host mom also saved me frosting from each round, just to snack on. (She seriously gets me.)
I saw ALL of my students out and about today when I went running. It was a beautiful day and there was no school, so there were lots of people out strolling. My host mom said that we missed one church tradition today where you have to crawl under a table three times. I thought that happened tomorrow, but she said we missed it. It’s cool. I’ll take baking all day over crawling under tables.
There are many more Easter traditions ahead this weekend. And based on the 45+ eggs we boiled and colored, there is a lot of egg salad coming my way too.