Easter Memories from Communist România!

Once upon a time, there was communism in România, a small country in Eastern Europe… For most, it was so insignificant, they called Bucharest, The capital of România, Budapest, which is the capital of Hungary, the neighboring country.
România and Hungary did have one thing in common: Communism!!!

Today, as I get ready to visit with my friends, waves of memories flooded my now peaceful mind.
For millions celebrating Easter was one of the forbidden apples!!!
As a child and young woman I was instructed by my parents to never, ever admit to any of the Easter traditions, not even the Bunny and the eggs! Come to think of it… I have no recollaction of a bunny or egg hunts to delight us, the children who believed in miracles!
WHAT I do recall, was how the colored Shell of eggs was carefully wrapped and thrown away in some public trash can, so that if “they” looked through our garbage, no evidence of criminal activities could be found!

The climax of Easter excitment, which for me lasted until 1981 when I defected from then communist România, was the mid- night celebration at churches allover my homeland! Hundreds of people, their candles like magical stars lighting the dark, mysterious sky…
Our eyes lift to the Heavens, trusting the denied Son of God was real! Faith!!! Many people had Faith but I was confused:
Did He really die and then He came back? Is He really the son of God? Did he really choose to come back in a hateful, undeserving world?
How about our sins? Could He absolve us of all the Evil we did if we believe in Him?

In those times, when I was a child and later a young woman, such thoughts never crossed my mind! Until I was in college I didn’t know WHAT was the book called Bible!
WHAT, as million other youth knew, was the pure practical aspect of this forbidden celebration. Here is WHAT I did know:

Don’t tell people you celebrate Easter! Just family and close friends.
The celebration for me consisted more in the geathering of so many people around a Church, at mid- night, the secret around not disclosing to anyone that I went to Church ! On top of the my list of cons and pros was the feast we, Romanians, faithful or not, indulged in after the mid-night service.

Here is my favorite tradition:

Two people choose a colored egg. There is a technique to picking one with a hard shell, which resists the hard tapping with the other person’s egg.
After both people choose the egg they believed would be the uncracked winner, we held our egg in our hand and say:

“HRISTOS A ÎNVIAT!!! (Christ is risen!)

As we say this, we tap the other person’s egg with the intention to crack ITS Shell!
The other person says:

“Adevărat, a înviat!” (Indeed, He has risen!)

Of course the hardest egg shell is declared the winnet!!!
After we geathered a good amount of shell- cracked eggs, the reward was peeling and eating the “defeated” eggs:)

Memories… like pearls hidden in cracks of our minds!

Hmm… this topic about Faith, God and the son of God … I Could write about it forever in the hope a miracle happens and I stop questioning!
Meanwhile, Nextweek I will make and post my egg salad recipe!
While I am still confused about WHAT is really important at Easter time, I am not confused about the delicious food which comes along with it!
As I continue to struggle, question and be deeply concerned about the Evil everywhere in our world, I force myself to have Faith… to believe!
Meanwhile I, we, could do the best we Could in our small world, in our daily lives!

As I continue to take small steps on the road of Faith, and sometimes I fall, I DO get up and continue to hope the path I walk tips the balance in favor of Good!

If you, like me, are confused and uncertain, please continue to take small, good steps. At least we walk in the right direction…

Happy Easter!
Rodica M.

The Party, The Guests and The Host!

We were in Bucharest, Romania, when Eastern Europe was communist.

We had just turned eighteen, my high school boyfriend and I and with the wisdom typical of that age group, we eloped and got married!

Shortly after, still enveloped in our “daze of independence” we were hopping from party to party, especially on weekends.

One Saturday evening, we were invited to a party in an apartment complex where several of our friends lived. On the outside, the complex was grey, gloomy. The main entrances and windows looked desolate but there was a lot of life and happiness once the doors to the apartments’ opened…

We rang the bell to our friend’s apartment, where the party was about to start. It was a little early, so when another guest, a mutual friend of ours and the host’s, opened his door, we were relieved she had arrived at the party before us!

She smiled a little surprised. She probably didn’t know we were invited at this party. That was okay… I smiled back, reassuringly.The three of us sat on a sofa and chatted, as we waited for the Host who was probably finishing up in the kitchen.

I launched into telling a story to avoid the silence. My throat was dry. Where are the drinks? I wondered. Where was the Host? How rude, to have a guest open the door to his apartment and have guests entertain one another! He really shouldn’t have a party if he is such a poor Host!!!

The friend who opened the door for us fidgeted increasingly.
No wonder, I thought, she is nervous! Doesn’t know how to handle this embarrassing situation. To try and entertain us, when she, herself is a guest! She and the Host, barely knew each other. I fact, we barely knew him. The Host had some nerve to be unprepared and let guests entertain themselves…

I glanced at my watch. It was getting late. Where were the other guests?

My husband and I “exchanged meaningful looks.”

The conversation continued to dragged. Our friend barely answered my questions about the weather any more… She didn’t seem to care my forecast was rain!

After about half an hour, in desperation, I flattered her:

“How nice of you to open the door for us!”

“Oh you’re welcome, but now I have to leave.” she said and stood up.


“I don’t mean to be rude,” she continued,” but wasn’t expecting you… at my apartment. I was going out when you rang the bell. Going to “X” party, on the 3rd floor.”

… and you know what followed:)

Oh… well thank God we were all invited. Over the years this became a treasured memory of how foolish we were and yet survived!

Happily Ever After:
The three of us took the elevator to the third floor, rang the door bell and the right Host opened the right door to the right apartment. After all, there was a party and the door opened at last! There were drinks too!

Many thanks to Karen Salmansohn’s post “If it does not open, it’s not your door (xo notsalmon.com) which was posted on my Home Feed, on Facebook and triggered my memory and desire to share this true story from my youth.