Growing up in California, Easter was always marked with the beginning of spring, pastel colors and new baby bunnies and little chicks. Easter was filled with family and church celebrations, a special Easter outfit for Sunday was a must and supermarket shelves were filled with chocolate eggs, bright colored candies as well as all the makings for a passover meal. This includes shelves of kosher wine and, of course, matzah bread.
In preparation for a Christian Seder* meal tonight, I went to the store to grab a few special ingredients. Apples, walnuts and wine to make the charoset, horseradish for the maror, parsley for the karpas, chocolate prizes, a few other things and the special Matzah bread. While we did find a whole section filled with chocolate goodies, bunnies and eggs, there was no Passover section. And when I asked about the Matzah bread, the man had no idea what it was, and I was told to look in the specialty crackers by the deli. Matzah was no where to be found. There are many different substitutes, unleavened bread in flatbread form, I could make the bread, like I did when I was in Papua New Guinea, or we could use another form of cracker. However, I am still surprised that Matzah isn’t easily available at this time of the year.
Sometimes I could almost forget that it is autumn here in the southern hemisphere. The weather is still warm, there are new little goslings in the neighborhood park and it’s Easter after all. I could almost forget that Australia and the US are different, even more than just the accents and kangaroos. But then something simple happens and I realize that I am not in the US and there are things here that I can’t take for granted, like easily finding Matzah in the regular grocery store.
*Tonight we will celebrate a Christian Seder meal with a group of friends. This will have many of the elements of a traditional Passover meal including being celebrated at sundown but instead of hoping for an unknown Messiah, we will acknowledge the Messiah Jesus Christ and take communion together. I love the history and tradition that is woven into this beautiful meal. It is a wonderful way to acknowledge our Christianity’s roots in Judaism, celebrate Holy Week and prepare for Good Friday.