Joyeuses Paques! as they say in French! This is by far the strangest Easter I have ever experienced! Besides the fact that this is the first Easter I have ever spent without being with my family, that wasn't the only thing missing. So this morning, I woke up to the Easter candy that my wonderful parents had sent me last week, and the churchbell alarm (very fitting for the occasion, I thought) that I had set for myself. I got up, did my routine, and the weirdness began:
1. I was all alone because Cammie is in London with her parents, and all my other friends had already left for spring break vacation. Strange because usually I spend Easter surrounded my huge amounts of family, or I least wake up to someone in the house with me.
2. I had a big bowl of cheerios. For me Easter means HUGE lunch/dinner, so breakfast is meager if I eat it at all.
So then I get on the tram to head down to the 6th biggest Cathedral in the world. Strasbourg has a beautiful Cathedral (pictures below) and luckily for me it was Catholic and had a mass at 11 so I didn't have to wake up too early.
Having known from every Easter before, Easter is the day that all the Catholics come out of hiding and go to mass, so usually getting a seat requires arriving at least fifteen minutes early, even at the biggest churches. Well I arrived a good 20 minutes early because the church is so famous I figured it'd be packed....more strangeness occurs:
3. Mass that started at 9 was still going on (not a good sign)...but people weren't waiting outside for the mass to finish, clear out and let the next seating in..nope, people were standing along the sides of the church in and around the pews, anywhere they could fit...as people from the 9 o'clock mass were getting communion, people at for the 11 were stealing their seats!!!!
4. When 9 o'clock mass had finally ended, it was a mad rush to grab seats! The procession hadn't even gotten halfway down the aisle before people were leaving and others were running to grab the openings. I felt like I was on a RyanAir flight! It was ridiculous.
5. Dressing up in pretty dresses and looking nice at mass is apparently a US thing that no one told me was unnecessary in France. I mean French women are supposed to dress nicely so I figured for Easter they'd go all out...well its quite the opposite! Everyone was in jeans, sneakers and some dark coat. I stood out like a sore thumb in my nice black pants, heels, coral top and white sweater. I was the only person in the whole church with anything white on other than the priests!
6. The mass begins and all of a sudden the person talking to me looks a lot more important than the usual priest or bishop. Yes, that would be because he was holding a cool stick thing and wearing that famous pointy hat, with a little red beenie thing found underneath....are you putting the pieces together yet? Yup, a cardinal was giving my Easter mass. That was really cool. Maybe not as cool as Lindsay at the Vatican with the Pope, but I did the best I could with what I've got in the Bourg!
This isn't exactly my cardinal...or my mass..but this is EXACTLY what it looked like...little red hat..and LOTS of incense.
7. Oh did I mention the whole mass was in French?
8. Communion came, and it was a sprint to get to the host!! No lines needed, the priests were rotating like sprinklers passing out the host..which was a very interesting consistency. People were coming from all different directions to get what they came for! It was far from the organized, one row at a time system, that we've implemented in the US!
Finally mass ends, after a good hour and twenty minutes..and there was another mad rush to the aisle seats (where I was sitting..effect of sitting with my dad at mass for 20 years) to get a good picture of the cardinal. Well I was completely unprepared without a camera, because I had no idea I'd be needing it in mass! next time i'll know!
The final weird thing that happened was...
9. I got churros after mass! for some reason there was a little fair set up outside the cathedral in Place de Gutenburg and I figured since I wasn't having an amazing Easter feast i could treat myself to some churros. Not the typical Easter treat, but not a bad replacement!
Anyway I hope everyone has an awesome Easter! I'll be traveling everywhere for the next 2 weeks so there probably won't be updates for a while but there will be more than enough to write about when I come back!!