An (Orthodox) Easter blessing to all

An (Orthodox) Easter blessing to all
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An (Orthodox) Easter blessing to all

Egg fighting, coloring eggs and the commercial benefits of being Orthodox at Easter. A look at one of my favorite holidays

By Ray Hanania

Opinion columnist راى حنانيا. Ray Hanania headshot

Opinion columnist راى حنانيا.
Ray Hanania

I always wondered, why would anyone use the fat side of an egg in shackling? You know, the Easter celebration of “egg fights.”

It’s only one of the many things I think about during the “Easter Season,” which is my favorite holiday of the year.

I’m actually lucky, too. My parents are Palestinian immigrants (legal, by the way) and were Catholic and Greek Orthodox (Antiochian Orthodox, these days). We celebrated both the “traditional Easter” holiday and the “Orthodox Easter” holiday that usually fell one week later.

For most traditional Christians, the second day of Eastertide or in the Byzantine Rite, the second day of Bright Week, is just the Monday after Easter. For the Orthodox, however, the Monday after traditional Easter has a special significance. That’s the day, the Monday after traditional Easter Sunday when all of the Easter decorations and especially the Easter candies like chocolate bunnies, marshmallow Peeps and jelly beans that fill many Easter baskets, go on sale.

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It’s not just a small discount. The discounts usually are sold at 75 percent off, which explains why the Orthodox usually have more chocolate treats and peeps during their Easter celebrations than the non-Orthodox Christians.

Yes, there are benefits to being Orthodox. So while some of you are reading this and wondering why I’m writing about Easter, which just passed, a whole lot of other Christians are looking forward to Easter Sunday to arrive this week.

Easter is a religious holiday for Christians, but it is also a holiday that has become an American tradition, too.

Ray Hanania and family Easter 1957.

Ray Hanania and family Easter 1957.

It’s timing is great, coming in the Spring, although when I was a child in the 1950s and 1960s, April was a lot warmer then than it is these days. Easter symbolizes a new birth, religiously for the resurrection and “new birth” of Jesus and Christianity, and also as a time when we awaken from our winter slumber.

April is also my birthday month, which explains for most why I am so emotional and fall in love so easily – having been married three and one-half times. Literally, people come up to me and they find out I am Arab and just assume that I must be Muslim.

The Easter baskets are spectacular icons of a great holiday, and so are decorating the eggs, also symbols of birth and new beginnings. The Orthodox generally color their eggs one color, purple, which is symbolic of the “Passion of Christ.”

And that’s even another reason why Easter is special for me. My mother, who was Orthodox, was born in Bethlehem and was a parishioner of the Church of the Nativity before legally immigrating to America in the 1950s as the bride of my father, who was born in Jerusalem.

When people go off on me on Facebook, yelling and screaming about my refusal to submit to the lies and biases of the mainstream national news media on issues like the national hoax of “Trump’s Russian collusion,” I have a great response. I respond to their extremist liberal hate by pointing out, “Watch it pal. My mother is from Bethlehem. And Jesus is my cousin.”

It comes in handy being related to Jesus; yes it does.

Weeping Icon, Miraculous Lady of Cicero, St. George Church, Cicero, Illinois

Weeping Icon, Miraculous Lady of Cicero, St. George Church, Cicero, Illinois

Notice how it is impossible to get away from this country’s ugly, vicious politics and racism? The word “hoax” automatically evokes images of Jussie Smollett lying through his teeth about being attacked by anti-Gay racists. And, it’s too easy for Right of Center “Reagan Democrats” like myself who view the lies about Trump’s “Russian Collusion” to the same lies they spread about Iraq and Saddam Hussein having Weapons of Mass Destruction. The biased mainstream national news media promoted both lies as sure as they are eager to trash anyone who has strong views about religion.

That’s the only down side of the Easter holidays, of course. We consume a lot of media BS and we consume a lot of sugar, too. Both are very, very unhealthy for everyone, including the extremists and the Left and the extremists on the Right.

Traditional Easter candies on sale the day after Easter (and before Orthodox Easter). Photo courtesy of Ray Hanania

Traditional Easter candies on sale the day after Easter (and before Orthodox Easter). Photo courtesy of Ray Hanania

(Ray Hanania is an award-winning columnist and former Chicago City Hall Reporter. This column originally ran in the Southwest News Newspaper group April 25, 2019. Visit www.Hanania.com for more columns or to subscribe to his political podcasts. Email your thoughts to rghanania@gmail.com.)

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Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania is an award-winning columnist, author & former Chicago City Hall reporter (1977-1992). A veteran who served during the Vietnam War and the recipient of four SPJ Peter Lisagor Awards for column writing, Hanania writes weekly opinion columns on mainstream American & Chicagoland topics for the Southwest News-Herald, Des Plaines Valley News, the Regional News, The Reporter Newspapers, and Suburban Chicagoland.  

Hanania also writes about Middle East issues for the Arab News, and The Arab Daily News criticizing government policies in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

A critic of mainstream news media bias, Hanania advocates for peace & justice for Israel & Palestine, & the empowerment of Arabs in America. 

"I write about three topics, the Middle East, politics and life in general. I often take my life experiences and offer them in an entertaining way to readers, and I take on the toughest topics like the Israel-Palestine conflict and don't pull any punches about what I feel is fair. But, my priority is always about writing the good story."

Click Here to LISTEN to Hanania's live radio show on 2nd Friday every month 7 AM CST. Click here to listen to Ray's Podcasts. 

His columns are archived here. Hanania was named "Best Ethnic American Columnist" by the New America Media in November 2007, and is the 2009 recipient of the SPJ National Sigma Delta Chi Award for column writing.

Email Ray Hanania at rghanania@gmail.com.

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