Category Archives: superstitious

One, Two, Three, Four, I Declare an Egg War

Hello and welcome to another fun edition of “Wild and Wacky Lithuanian Holiday Traditions.” Today’s topic is Easter, or “Velykos.”

In Lithuania there was no Easter bunny, but rather an Easter Hag (“Bobut?). The Velyk? Bobut? was a little old lady who rode around in a carriage pulled by a rabbit. She would deliver each child ONE OR TWO EGGS.

“And you better believe those kids were grateful. Nobody ever heard of jelly beans or Peeps back then. They were just happy to get a couple of warm eggs on their windowsill, straight from the chicken.”

Another thing the Lithuanians did was to race each other home from church in their horse drawn carriages. It was said that the winner would finish his work faster than others throughout the coming year, all of his animals would be healthy, and his bees would make more honey. I imagine this caused more than a few buggy accidents, which is probably why the ancient Lithuanians also used to say special ritual prayers on Easter morning to protect themselves from roadside snakes, wolves, demons, and accidents.

“But guess what, kids! The Lithuanian children were happy to ride home seatbelt-less in a horse drawn carriage because it beat walking.”

Once home, the Lithuanians partook in a breakfast feast of pretty much every kind of meat available to them, bacon, cake, beets, mushrooms, and colored Easter eggs, or margu?iai.” But before beginning the meal, they would count their blessings and divvy up one egg between them as a symbol of family unity.

After everyone had eaten his egg sliver, the Egg Wars would begin. Each person would select an egg and hit it, end-to-end, against another person’s egg. If your egg remained intact, you would go on to the next round and hit your egg against the egg of another winner, and on down the line until one person with an unbroken egg emerged victorious.

That person would live the longest.

After breakfast, kids would roll eggs down a wooden plank on an incline, kind of like in a game of marbles. If anyone tried to cheat by using a fake egg, he would be pelted with raw ones.

“And believe you me, they thought it was the best thing since sliced bread. That’s because they didn’t have TVs, computers, or iPods.”

Growing up, my family retained some modernized forms of these traditions. For example, my dad would always make a beeline out of church right after the Mass of the Resurrection to get a head start on the parking lot traffic. And though we never tried to divide a single egg between us, we always decorated margu?iai and proceeded to destroy them in the Egg Wars. (The trick, if you choose to try this, is to always hold your egg still and let the other person hit it. Also, use the blunt end.)

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The Twin Brothers and I, circa 1981, Cleveland.

Happy Easter! And may your egg remain intact on both ends.

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As a Bonus, We Also Made It Back

There was only one thing standing between me and our ten year anniversary trip to Vegas last week:

2,090 miles of airspace.

That’s a lot for a girl who once unbuckled her seat belt and stood up in the middle of the aisle to ask why the oxygen masks were not deploying when the flight she was on hit a pocket of turbulence.

Who had to breathe into a paper bag while a flight attendant rubbed her back and had her visualize Jesus holding her plane up by a string  over the the Bermuda Triangle that one time.

And who has on occasion demanded a look inside the cockpit to make sure the pilots aren’t drunk.

Thanks to cognitive-behavioral therapy and Xanax, the girl has made great strides flight-wise, so that where once she considered it a miracle if her flight made it to its destination in one piece, she now flies with “75% confidence” that it will. Which leaves the other 25% free to wander the anxious depths.

The Scene: Continental Airlines Flight 580 Nonstop Service Cleveland to Las Vegas.

“P-Dawg?”

“Yo.”

“I don’t have a good feeling about this flight.”

“Oh, really. Why is that?”

“I don’t know. I feel kind of guilty for going off without the kids and I’m pretty sure that automatically increases the chances of something happening.”

“Don’t be ridiculous.”

“It’s not ridiculous.  Are you telling me you don’t care even one iota if we die and leave Jonas and V-meister orphans?”

“We are not going to die and leave Jonas and V-meister orphans.”

“On a scale of 1 to 10, what do you think the chances are that this flight will crash?’

“I’m not going to answer that.”

“That bad, huh?”

“Did you take your Xanax?”

“Not yet.”

“Go ahead and take it.”

“Okay. That wing looks like it’s about to snap right off.”

(later)

“OH MY GOD, DID YOU HEAR THAT SOUND?”

“What sound?”

“Something is wrong with one of the engines.”

“What are you talking about?”

“It sounds like one of them is about to cut out.”

“Do you know this from your experience as a tech writer?”

“You know what? You won’t be laughing during the emergency landing when I’m the first out the chute with a can of beer in each hand.”

“Yes I will.”

“Don’t talk to me, I’m praying.”

(Scene)

P.S. We made it! And as a bonus, we also made it back. I might write about it later, but then again maybe I won’t. That promise of Part Two in my Study Abroad “series” is still hanging like an albatross around my neck.

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