#92 long friday

092/365 long friday, originally uploaded by rosipaw.

I was brought up a Christian – to be precise, a Lutheran, the state religion of Finland. So, for us, Easter is the most important annual religious celebration. As for most Finns, though, life for me has become quite secular, and I only go to church for special occasions, such as christenings, weddings or funerals. Religion for me is a very personal feeling, and I am hoping I can be open-minded enough to appreciate that other people have their personal religious convictions, separate from mine, but just as valuable and justified.

Good Friday, is curiously called ‘long Friday’ (‘pitkä perjantai’) in Finnish. When I was a child, my mother used to insist that on Good Friday, children had to stay in all day, with no friends visiting, and no loud games allowed either. All this to respect the sad biblical origins of the day. I and my two brothers used to have a hard time getting through this quiet, boring day. It literally seemed to be the longest day of the year! When, as a teenager, I first heard that it’s called Good Friday in English, I honestly couldn’t understand what could be good about the day.

Even today, shadows seem to be long on this day. Inspired by my childhood stories, my husband, a British Anglican, but equally secular as me, introduced the idea of fasting on this day (Lutherans don’t normally fast), with only the symbolic red wine and bread for dinner. He reckoned we ought to somehow instil the Christian origin of Easter in our daughter. She still voluntarily shares the wine and bread with us, even though she revealed that her friends think that her parents are religious fanatics for keeping up such strange customs!

The loaf in the picture is one of the many varieties of Easter bread in Finland, often spiced with anis seeds and decorated with almonds, like this one.


4 Responses to “#92 long friday”

  1. April 3, 2010 at 11:24

    That’s very interesting, Sinikka. Do you think it’s called Long Friday because you can’t do anything and it seems long? We have a similar tradition for Good Friday in that we try to focus on the events of the day (the whole week, really). We don’t eat or drink until after the burial service (about 4.30 that finishes). If we follow the services for the duration of Great Lent, then we’ve followed an internal journey of our own. It’s a struggle with all the distractions of every day life. At the moment we’re getting ready to go to the midnight service which is always full of curious tourists. That will finish just before 3am. Then we come home and eat kulich, pascha, and the meat we’ve been missing for 8 weeks. I could never be a vegetarian! Happy Easter, Sinikka!

  2. April 3, 2010 at 14:36

    How very interesting to hear about your traditions, Tania. It sounds so good for busy modern people to try at least partly to follow ‘the internal journey’ you talked about.

    I think the ‘long Friday’ name comes from the sadness and gravity of the biblical events, which make the day so long and hard to bear – maybe.

    Bon appetit with the kulich, pascha and meat tonight!

  3. April 5, 2010 at 00:54

    I love the light in this photograph. All the best for the Easter season

  4. 4 sinikka
    April 5, 2010 at 08:23

    Thank you for your comment Susan. This table in the corner of our living room always catches the warm light of the evening sun.

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