Monday, March 31, 2008

How Big is Easter in Belize?

A few people have asked if Easter is a big deal in Belize because the country as a whole is so religious, and because Central America in general is known for big Easter celebrations. I can’t answer for the whole of Belize because we’re sort of isolated out here and even when we go to town we don’t see that many people, but from what we’ve seen, it’s widely celebrated, but not as overtly religious as you might think. Good Friday and Easter Monday are both national holidays, so of course everybody appreciates a four-day weekend. And it is definitely a religious holiday, but I think because people in general are more religious all the time, it doesn’t seem like such a high religious celebration. In the US, we know a whole bunch of people who only go to church on Christmas and Easter, so these holidays seem like big religious celebrations. Here, most people go to church regularly – weekly or even more frequently – so not that many more people get revved up for Easter services, and Easter week isn’t any different than every other week of the year. Personally, I find it’s sort of a let-down here, and I didn’t realize until I started thinking about it this year that I apparently celebrated the pagan aspects of the holiday, getting hope that because it was already Easter, spring must be on the way, and winter will be over. Yes, I know that’s symbolically the resurrection anyway, but here where the weather is always nice and warm, the holiday just doesn’t seem so much like a cause for celebration.

Speaking of Easter symbolism, we had a sort of morbidly funny conversation about chicks with Olmi and Damion. We see all the new batches of chicks because they come to eat the grain when we feed the horses, so we know how about how many little chicks are running around at any given time. We noticed that one hen’s chicks all disappeared, so we asked if they’d been killed by a snake, or foxes, or ‘possums, or some other wild animal. No, we were told, it was Eduard, Marta Uno’s one-year-old, who killed that batch of chicks because he’d pick them up to play with them, squeeze them too hard, and pop their heads (really, that’s what they said). Tom and I were horrified, but Damion and Olmi assured us that all the little kids, even the too-cute Zulmi, occasionally kill chicks if they’re not being watched closely enough. Now we know why they’re so nonchalant about our concern that Louie and Nock will go on a chicken killing rampage.

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