EVENTS / istanbulogy / April 7, 2012

Easter Eggs


It is Easter time!! In some neighborhoods you could see the window displays of pastry shops decorated with painted eggs and the sweet smell of mahlep coming from the bakeries that bake easter pastry (or paskalya çöreği in Turkish) for the Easter.

I lived in such a cosmopolitan part of the city that up until I was 18, I had no idea that I lived in a Muslim country. And it took a long while to learn the meaning of the word, cosmopolitan. It was not something that would define your way of life in Istanbul; it was the way it is. I was brought up as a Muslim; we were Muslim but I never thought it was a Muslim country. Later, I realized that I lived in a country that boasts about being 99% Muslim. That was a shock! 

Jewish friends would share their matzah with you at Pesah. More or less everybody seemed to be fasting to me. But the things we all avoided was different. I fasted until I was 15 or 16, when I realized it was just not my cup of tea, and I justified myself saying I am more honest than many girls who seem to be fasting only to lose weight.

What I envied most in all these rituals that were a part of my life back then was the shiny sparkly Christmas tree with the gifts and I could never convince my mum to get one for even one New Year… 



Tags:  christian christian heritage Christmas Easter easter eggs fasting festival Jewish heritage Pesah religion rituals

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