Today is Pascha, the Orthodox Christian Easter
which is normally one week later than when Western Christians celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus. My wife and I were married in an Orthodox Church, and she still attends that Church, although I moved on almost two decades past. The Celebration is in a service that begins before Midnight, with all the draperies and vestments still in Lenten Colors. Candles are light from one candle, the light slowly spreading through the darkened church, Then as the congregation goes out and circles the building three times, everything inside is changed to a brilliant white for the Resurrection, with the repeated exclamation “Christ is Risen!” with the Congregational response “Indeed He is Risen!” the doors are thrown open and a period 50 days until Pentecost begins, with the 40th being Ascension. In my wife’s parish the exchange is in multiple languages — English, the official language of the Church, Greek, Old Church Slavonic (used in Russia, Ukraine, Bulgaria), Rumanian, and Arabic. The service goes on for several hours, at the end of which there is a blessing of Easter baskets, full of the meats and cheeses that the parishioners have forgone during Lent, and then a feast. People often do not get home until 4:30 or 5 in the morning.
This also marks an inflection point for me. Let me explain.