The Case for Christian Easter Unity

What I'm celebrating

As I’m celebrating Easter Sunday today, Orthodox Christians are celebrating the day I had last week: Palm Sunday.

Following Palm Sunday, they’re going to have their own Holy Week, in which Jesus will go through what He went through this past week with Catholics, leading up to Him dying on the Cross yet again, before resurrecting.

That’s too much work for a deity in a couple of weeks, don’t you think? And quite redundant as well.

So I ask this. The fact that there are two Easters means that one may be right, the other may be wrong – or both may be wrong at that and Easter should be set at a totally different date altogether.

What Orthodox Christians are celebrating

I don’t want to go into who’s right and who’s wrong. That is besides the point. I don’t want Orthodox fanatics going all “Orthodox, Orthodox” on me, trying to prove they’ve got the correct Easter. And I don’t want Catholics to go all “holy Pope” in trying to prove theirs as well.

I also don’t want to hear about the various weather theories: it rained on our Good Friday, God must be on our side. It’s 2012 people.

There needs to be a credible approach towards setting a date for Easter that works for both sects, every year. I wouldn’t mind a twelve day vacation every time, as well.

If anything, being Christian is going beyond your pride, which I think is the only hurdle facing unifying Easter, and working towards the unity of the Church – at least when it comes to the crucification of Jesus.

Until then, Happy Easter to Catholics and have a great Palm Sunday, Orthodox people. Hopefully there will come a day where I can say Happy Easter to both every year, not on sporadic years where both Easters happen to be simultaneous.

He is risen.


My Favorite Non-Religious Things about Lebanese Easter

Here’s #1: Kebbet el 7azine.


No meat goes into making this. Instead, they use pumpkins and chickpeas, as well as various herbs. Try it with lots of garlic paste and you’re set to go.

Kebbe el 7azine -

And #2:

Maamoul b Tamer:

Can’t go into the recipe. Too complex and tiring. But let me tell you this, homemade Maamoul is the best and my mom is especially good at making them. I haven’t tried this year’s batch (they contain butter) but I’m sure they’re equally good. At least they look delicious.

Maamoul b Joz:

Maamoul b Joz

Sa7tein! Omnomom :p


The Most Memorable Good Friday Sermon of My Life

It was 2004.

I was almost 15 back then and sitting huddled next to the altar at my hometown’s old church which never fit all of us. It was also very cold.  It’s common for parishes to bring in priests for Easter week in order to present a new perspective to the congregation. The priest at the time was not out of touch with the popular feel spreading around.

So the priest stood there talking and I was tuning out, naturally. Until he said the following: “Jesus was a nominee.”

In case you didn’t pick up on it, 2004 was the year Star Academy was the “it” thing among everyone. “Yes, Jesus was a nominee – and what’s worse, he lost the voting to a criminal.”

The whole church’s attention was caught at that point. He then proceeded to conclude: “We, as Christians, brag about being as such to everyone that passes by. But are we truly voting for Jesus in our life? The answer is simply no. It’s always easier not to vote for Him.”

8 years later, I still remember that sermon as if it were yesterday. And I’m afraid to say that no, I don’t vote for Jesus all the time. It’s simply way too difficult to turn the right cheek as if nothing happened. It’s so difficult to be good to people and not expect them to be good in return – let alone them betraying you.

Life is a work in progress, I guess. My faith may not be the one the Church asks of me and I may struggle with it on a daily basis. But I work towards keeping it and attempting to vote for “Jesus” not through going to Church every Sunday and memorizing every Bible verse but by being a good person who’s good to others and expecting them to be good to him – despite all the signs pointing otherwise.

Have a contemplative Good Friday, everyone.

My Favorite Lebanese Easter Chants/Hymns

It’s that time of the year again – Easter.

To me, Good Friday proceedings are always riveting, as well as depressing. Even though year after year the whole premise has become more or less repetitive, the whole feel of Good Friday is just too haunting to shake off – no matter how old you get.

And chants are always an essential part adding to the overall feel of Easter. These are my favorite Lebanese Easter chants.

Wa Habibi (Chanted by Fairuz).

Al Yawm 3oulika 3ala Khachaba (Chanted by Fairuz).

Ana Al Oumo Al 7azina (Chanted by Fairuz).

Ya Sha3bi W Sa7bi

Happy Palm Sunday

My very first Palm Sunday. Had a death in the family so my parents couldn't take me.

I remember when I was a little boy and my parents used to take me, along with my brothers, to go buy new clothes for Palm Sunday. I used to hate it. My parents used to love it. Any opportunity to have their kids compare to others, right?

My dad loved to dress my brothers and I in some funky stuff. I remember them taking us to church wearing unmatched socks once – one red and the other yellow along with sticky things that they glued on our ears. Needless to say, many people in my hometown were not particularly happy. But my dad has always been the “eccentric” one. You should hear the stories I’m told about him in his younger days.

And don’t get me started on the candle. Every single year, we buy a new candle to carry and every single year it turns out to be the most useless thing. You try to lit it, the wind blows it off immediately. You try to walk with it but it’s heavy. And more often than not, twenty minutes into the proceedings, it breaks in half.

But you know what, as my 22 year old self types this and misses out on the proceedings, I cannot help but feel notsalgic to the times when I really was excited about Palm Sunday rolling around. I’ve recently noticed as well that most of our photographed memories are taken on Palm Sunday. As you go through albums, you can see as your whole generation grew up year after year. Until you all stopped going bit by bit and a newer generation took over.

Easter in Lebanon is apparently among the best in the world. Palm Sunday is just the beginning.

Here’s to us becoming parents in the future and spoiling our kids on Palm Sunday. Have a blessed day everyone.