Monday, April 13, 2009

Maggie Introduces an American Holiday to Her Host Family, pt. 5

Easter! This was a fun one to keep secular. With Christmas I could easily remove the religious bits and still be left with plenty of gift giving and togetherness and cookies. Take out the churchy bits and all Easter has left is a man-rabbit holding a basket of fluorescent eggs. Which, along with the purple tinted egg salad that sits in our fridge for days after holiday, is the reason I love it.

I got an egg-coloring kit in the mail last week. After nixing the idea of somehow bleaching my brown eggs for fear of later poisonings, I set to work. They came out well, if I do say so myself. The yellow was rather understated, but the orange and greens were pretty spectacular. I brought my bounty to my host family’s house for brunch the next day. They were expecting me, but what they weren’t expecting were the amazing Technicolor tiglay (eggs, in Tash – isn’t that a good one?).

My thirteen year-old host sister opened the door first. She greeted me, excited, and became even more so when she spotted the gift in my hands. “Candy!” she squealed.

“Nope,” I smiled, lifting the lid, ”eggs.” Her face fell. Then contorted. Her mother came up behind her and barely said hello before she caught a glimpse of them. “Are those eggs?” she asked, trying hard to keep smiling.

“Yeah, I made them,” I said. “It’s a big holiday tomorrow, and this is what we do.” This made her smile. Most of my holiday talk does.

“Well happy holiday, then!” She ushered me in, where I helped set the table and make the last preparations for brunch. Then we sat down to eat.

There was some hesitant nibbling while we all stared at the eggs. I was curious to see who would reach for one first. I think they were nervous that I might want them to do just that. My host mother finally broke the silence.

“So show us what you do with these,” she said, picking up a bright red egg.

“It’s just like a normal egg,” I explained, choosing a small blue one. My host sister asked if there might be chocolate inside, and was saddened when I explained that only golden eggs laid by golden geese are chocolate, which are besides very hard to come by so close to the holiday; these were normal. The eyes of the room were on me as I cracked the shell and rolled the egg on the table, removing the skin. My host granny giggled. Then I took a bite, and with a breath everyone relaxed and started in on the eggs.

As people began eating I explained that, technically, a rabbit hides the eggs at night, and when children wake they are supposed to search for them in and around their homes. It’s a game, and whichever kid finds the most eggs wins. That no one asked for clarification is a testament either to my high level of Tashlheet (so, not that), or the fact that at this point nothing that comes out of my mouth startles anymore. The troubled looks of pity I got, though, were enough.

“And what’s this holiday for?” someone asked.

“Oh, its kind of religious,” I answered, squishing my egg and bread into a makeshift sandwich. “But mostly it’s about being with your family and all that.”

“Oh, good heavens,” mumbled granny. She turned her egg over, holding it up to the light. “Can I still eat it if the color got on the inside?”


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