Thiruvananthapuram, April 16: As the Passion week with prayers, penance and vegetarian food came to an end, most of the Christian households in Kerala started festivity with an early visit to the church to attend the Easter Sunday service and then to prepare scrumptious meals.
Soon after sunrise, the church priests gave out pieces of cake and in some places a glass of wine to signal the end of the 50-day lent. After exchanging the customary Easter pleasantry, people rushed back to their home to have the most important meal of the day – the Easter breakfast.
The Easter breakfast includes ‘appam’ (rice flour mixed with toddy), chicken stew, beef roast, at some places duck is the important non-vegetarian dish, besides steamed bananas, egg roast and a piece of cake.
Once the breakfast is over, the women folk after are back in action as the kitchen comes alive yet again.
Generally, the traditional Easter lunch is rice accompanied by non-vegetarian dishes with various varieties of meat and fish.
While the Catholic community lays special emphasis on pork, the others rely on beef and chicken and in some places mutton, but a fish fry and the traditional fish curry is everywhere.
Nowadays, in certain households, there is a departure from tradition and people opting convenient steaming hot biryani from restaurants, as many wish to make the best of the few days’ holidays by catching up on rest, preferring to spend less time in the kitchen.
To make it, even more, easier, which has become very common, families prefer to have the Easter lunch in restaurants and big hotels, where for around Rs 700 upwards, one can have a full feast accompanied with lots of Easter delicacies with varieties of meat and fish dishes.
Also, liquor in various forms, wine, beer, hard liquor and not to mention the traditional toddy either from coconut or palm is another must in most households. As Catholics who lead from the front, this is not particularly taboo as compared to other denominations.
“I am a regular tippler and these 50 days is the only time during the year when I forego liquor. I find it difficult every year to abstain from liquor but, as this time too, I came out successful and did not touch it. So I decided to start my session soon after breakfast and now waiting for my relatives to turn up. The session along with a game of cards will go on till late evening,” said Jacob Punnen, an agriculturist in Kottayam.
Generally, with a heavy breakfast and a sumptuous lunch, there is no concept as Easter dinner and hence in most households, the day comes to a close early with dinner, mostly with the leftover from lunch and with it, the year’s Easter festivities gets over.
According to the atest revised Census report of the 33.4 million Kerala population, Christians number 61.41 lakh.
Of this, the Catholics account for over 50 percent followed by various other denominations.