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Keeping Up With Maury
Passover and Greek Orthodox Easter
by Maury Feren

Did you know that the Greek Orthodox Church celebrates their Easter a week after Passover? That is going to be a part of my story.

Christians that celebrate Easter are a separate church who celebrates at a different time on the calendar. Originally the Orthodox Greek church was formed in 1500 in Constantinople. This is when they separate from the main church. Although they are a smaller denomination they do have a big following in Russia and the middle eastern countries besides Turkey, Serbia, and the Balkans and other international countries.

I began my story a week ago just before Passover began. My Jewish friend had developed a wonderful personal relationship with a Greek who was celebrating Easter at his home in a traditional way. This custom entails a lamb roast were family and friends are invited to partake in all the goodness of this holiday. Brecksville is a beautiful community. I was invited as a guest. The houses are tremendous in size with lots of land. The celebration took place in one of those big homes.

Before the day was up more than a hundred people was coming and going. A professional barbeque chef was there to prepare the roast. There were 3 full size lamb attached to a medal barbeque arrangement. The lambs were on a turning spit. Tied to the spit about one foot or more above the fire in all proportionality one of the reasons it was prepared so well was that the chef used fire wood instead of charcoal. The fire seems to be steady and didn't see any flare ups at anytime.

It was a beautiful day Sunday about 70 degrees beginning at noon I was there from 1 to 5pm. I sat outside sucking up that wonderful sun and watching the lamb being roasted. The skins of the lambs seem to have been seasoned to perfection developing that glaze of not quite burnt with a terrific shine. Your mouth just watered just thinking of it, because the smell of the meat and the very look of it.

This was a food spectacular beside the lamb there were side dishes of every description. A big pile of stuffed pastries with feta cheese was one of the stars on the table. There were Greek wine, Cabernet red and white wine. Soft drinks of all kinds, beer and spring water.

In the kitchen were everything was being finished off to be served you can find piles of grape leaves, feta cheese, and over cheese from other areas. Varies salads, chick peas, and beans already seasoned, lettuce, peas, baked beans and 20 different kinds of desserts. Yes I said 20 beginning with balaclava, chocolate cake, cut up fruit that was just ripe enough to be classified as being super. I could not name all the desserts that was offered.

It was a food spectacular. Much credit should be given to the woman of the family who contributed a great deal of these delicacy in her own style.

There is no way that I can explain this event except to offer it in terms that I know. This is a family who carried out their traditional of celebrating Easter together. I was a family experience covering 3 generations. Dozens of children playing together with no one bothering them as they played basketball and soccer in the field. Besides hanging on the sides of trees with no fighting, no arguing. Just kids playing together.

The adults were gathered in separate groups with families together and friends as well. These were all people who celebrated the Easter holiday. Many of them go from house to house to carry out this traditional. This was a sampling of what America once was. Families would come from all over to celebrate the family and the holiday.

Parents and grandparents were given the respect they are entailed to. It was a closeness that you could feel emanating from that entire area. Tables of happy people who appropriated one another. I'm sure there may have been some enter conflicts that wasn't visible but outwardly it was a seen of families coming together. I must finish off by letting you know how the chef prepare the lamb for serving. I watched him trim the skin to the side and cut into the legs and sides. Many people came by picking up pieces of meat and nibbling on pieces of skin that looked so enticing. I watched one man pick up the head which had been cut off separately and joined the meat below the eye. It was a fascinating sight.

3 full sized lambs, a lot of meat cut up in small pieces so it can be served. The chef was a master. He did it with finesse. The whole job was done with time to spare.

Its not often that you can go back in time and see the world as it once was played out in modern times. It proves that it can be done. This is the family unity that we seek. This is what made America great. I look forward to the day that we can all meet in the same way as a family who celebrates together.

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