Easter in Bolivia

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Easter in Bolivia is a strictly spiritual holiday. In fact, as I sat down to write this post I made a comment to Mauricio about the Easter Bunny and he gave me a blank look. “You do know who the Easter Bunny is, right?!” I asked him. Believe it or not he had no clue. Easter here isn’t about bunnies or chocolate or eggs or anything else like that. It’s about the death and resurrection of Christ.

Rather than just recognizing Easter, or Pascua, Bolivians celebrate the entire Holy Week, Semana Santa. We won’t be working Thursday afternoon or Friday in honor of “Holy Thursday” and Good Friday. The Catholic Church has services all week long.

It’s refreshing to experience a Christian holiday with zero commercialism. As Jesus hung on the cross giving His very life for us, I can’t imagine that chocolate eggs and marshmallow peeps crossed his mind. As his mother and disciples mourned his death I’m sure that cute bunnies and egg hunts would have disgusted them. And the joy surrounding the resurrection hasn’t a thing to do with Easter baskets full of goodies.

I’m not opposed, per se, to any of those Easter traditions; as long as they don’t overshadow the true meaning of the Holiday. Everything else should pale in comparison to the resurrection of Christ.

But this year Bolivia is kind of cheating. We’ll have national, obligatory elections on Sunday, Easter Day. It’s kind of strange and surprising to me, that they’ll be held that day, but at least it made me feel better about asking my mom to pick up and freeze some Easter candy for me!
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