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WE LIFE

By Korena Darnelle

A Traditional Bajan Easter
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To many a Bajan, Easter is almost like a mini Christmas in April. Known for its hot cross buns, fish of all types and kites of all shapes, Easter is that time of year eagerly anticipated by younger ones who relish being away from school and having fun flying kites. As a predominantly Christian society, Easter is an important holiday season where the death and resurrection of Jesus is reflected upon.  Just like Christmas, Easter in Bim is lively and colourful with plenty of decorating and shopping for curtains and decor.

Over the years Bajan Easter traditions have evolved. The more convenient method of buying kites from a store or a roadside vendor is quickly replacing the old-fashioned pastime of making your own. Many methods of kite making involved rummaging through the cane fields for cane trash, searching for coconut leaves, sticks, or even in desperate times, plastic bags or old newspaper. Old clothes or sheets were snuck out of drawers away from mothers’ watchful eyes and used to make the lengthy kite tails.

 

Many assembled at the Garrison Savannah on Easter Monday to watch the colourful array of kites on display, some longing to win prizes for the largest and smallest kites. Sometimes the largest kites could be over four feet tall and required quite a few men to get it aloft, with some being swept off their feet as the wind picked up.
 

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One knew Easter was approaching as the streets in town became filled with women shopping for new curtains, white outfits or the infamous decorative sticks to make their homes anew. Men were often seen outside painting or cleaning the house boards or power washing the walls all in a zest for Easter. Most of the older generation had their white curtains on prominent display, a clear statement that Easter was near.

During this time many choose to relish in the numerous fish dishes - as they had given up meat for Lent - and the hot cross buns that only appeared at this time. The Oistins Fish Festival was a popular place to be during this time to have a bit of fun, food and friendship.
 

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Churches celebrate Palm Sunday as a tribute to Jesus’ triumphal entry  into Jerusalem as the people laid palms in front of him as he rode by on a donkey. There is a procession of church members singing and walking through the neighbouring community with palms and palm crosses. Palms are also prominently displayed on the windows and doors of the church. The once empty pews are filled as many deemed it necessary to be in the house of the Lord at Easter time. For Good Friday, most members wore black or dark clothes and the mood of the church was solemn to commemorate the death of Christ. However, on Easter Sunday, many wore white and bright colours and the church came alive to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection.
 

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Easter bonnet parades and Easter egg treasure hunts and superstitions were also hallmarks of a traditional Bajan Easter. Some believed that cutting into the Physic/ Barbados Nut tree at noon on Good Friday would result in blood flowing from the tree. Another known superstition was to never go swimming on Good Friday or somebody would drown and too often this seemed to hold true. It was also said that placing an egg in a glass of water during Easter would show the image of a cross, but some argue that it shows a church, while others say it shows a coffin. Feel free to try it for yourself. 

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