Friday, 10 April 2009

Good Friday

There's a sense of quiet drama about Good Friday, even in the context of English - rather than Polish - Catholicism. The inside of the church is stripped bare: no flowers, no altar cloth, no wall hangings - even the carpets are torn up and rolled away out of site.
The atmosphere is one of deep sorrow. Lighting is kept to a bare minimum and music is provided only to pick out the supporting chants and responses. Any statues are shrouded in purple cloth. Banners and even votive light stands are turned to face the wall, as though hiding their faces.

Devoid of inspiring images, music and lighting, in an empty, whitewashed building, human beings search for a sense of the divine - for an answer from the blankness: why have you forsaken us?


Anonymous said...

Is it the same in the Church of England? Are there popular English Easter traditions?

pinolona said...

Hi Sylwia,
The church my parents go to in Sevenoaks is veryveryvery 'high' i.e. exactly like the Catholics but more so, so the rituals at least look very similar.

We have sort of parallel traditions: for example we have palms on Palm Sunday, but they are in the form of crosses, rather than sort of bouquets. Equally we have a vigil service with fire on Saturday night, but it's slightly shorter (I went to the Polish version last year, three hours).

There's definitely an egg-rolling race on Easter Monday too, but none of the other English students in my class believe me...

OH yes, and we eat pisanki made of chocolate. mmm.