Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Easter in Chennai

After seeing church after church packed with worshipers in Kerala during our trip, I was more prepared to the faithful overflowing here in Chennai. What I wasn't prepared for was the way that the days around Easter were "celebrated". On Good Friday, the church down the street laid out a body of Jesus in a coffin and left it in the middle of the aisle, much as a "normal" funeral would do in the US. Folks would then go up to the prone statue and touch it (the "Hindu" touch), much as I have seen them do to the Mary statues shown here at other times.

Also, you'll note the neon all over the place in the church. I was also accustomed to Easter Saturday being very quiet and mournful. Not here, where the Saturday night was like a big picnic. These pix are a bit fuzzy, but you should get the picture of families coming with their blankets and tiffin boxes (the Indian equivalent of a US picnic basket) camping out in the common area that served as a parking lot for Easter sunday itself (and that I remember as a mass camp after the Tsunami).
Note that worshippers leave their shoes outside. Not everyone does this, but many do.

Everyone lights candles, including us, so we need to buy them first.Lots of things to pray for in this world.
It takes a little getting used to -- the idea of Mary in a sari, but here are a couple of examples.
This was a nice followup to our Seder in Bangalore, where we used cilantro instead of parlsey, and parathas and rotis (flatbread both) instead of matzo, and followed a very free form Haggadah based on a kid's book.

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