Sunday, April 8, 2007

Easter, St Johann, Carinthia, Austria

I am writing from St Johann Austria where my wife grew up. Yesterday I drove here and missed the blessing of the food, but made-up for it by getting up for the traditional Easter mass. I was also in time for the traditional Saturday evening Easter fire, here's a photo.

The Easter mass in St Johann starts at 4:00 am. It is a long service with lots of readings, including the one about how God created the world in 7 days (that one always makes me think of conservative religious folks who, among other things, believe this is the literal truth and fight science education in schools - so I dislike it). The mass includes music from a marching band - about 40 people - crowded into the very small choir loft (as they came down I felt like I was watching one of those films of college students getting out of a Volkswagen bug, how many more could their be?).

After the mass, the whole congregation takes candles and has a small parade around the church, which is on a hill, led by the marching band, stopping every hundred meters for a prayer (in a nod to modern times, the priest has a wireless microphone and someone carries a mobile loudspeaker). Here's a photo.

As we walked someone was blasting away with a cannon and the church bells were ringing. We walked back up to the church and then everyone reassembled to walk over - again led by the band - to the local Gasthaus (neighborhood pub) for goulash and beer. Then, back to bed, it was just getting to be light ... about 6 am.

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