Monday, April 11, 2016

Celebrating Easter

Whilst everyone in Singapore is enjoying a lazy long weekend, observant Catholics, on the other hand, spend a lot of it in church. Starting with Maundy Thursday, what with the washing of the feet and the holy hour (I skipped it this year), then the Good Friday service (2 hours long) and Easter Vigil (3.5 hours) on Saturday night.  Then we have a big Easter lunch on Easter Sunday to celebrate.  What with cooking and eating (and sleeping off the lunch), that's the whole weekend gone.  And this year, I decided to further eat into my weekend by making Hot Cross Buns on Saturday afternoon (they took me 4.5 hours, including the time for proving and baking, and tidying up).

Hot Cross Buns have always been associated with Easter, what with the symbolism of the cross, the spices in the bun and the bread, to be broken and shared.  But its first mention, according to the BBC no less, was in 1733 in that famous old ditty, "One a penny, two a penny, Hot Cross Buns". Clearly the buns had staying power as they are still around today.

I made my buns from a Paul Hollywood recipe, from his book "How to Bake".  You can however find a similar recipe hereTo be honest, I had tried making them last year but they were not very pretty and looked more like rock buns.  Fortunately, appearances were deceptive as certainly the buns were fluffy and soft on the inside.  My buns still weren't that pretty this year (I decided against the apricot jam glaze) but the cross is nice and clear.  What I like about it - the inclusion of the apple - its tart flavour contrasts with the sweetness of the bun and the dried fruit peel and sultanas.  

I managed to finish the buns just in time for a quick shower and a hurried dinner before rushing to Easter Vigil.  Need to go early, to get a good seat and before the church is plunged into darkness.  

Indeed, it is a special moment, the hush (at least it would be a hush if people weren't still coming into the darkened church and others weren't talking) in the church, just before the start of the Vigil.  Outside, the great fire is being lit, and from the fire, the Pascal candle is lit before being brought into the church.  And from this one candle, all our little candles are lit.  It's really such a beautiful moment, when all the church is slowly coming alight, and each of us contributes to it.  Then, we have the glory of the Exultet (beautifully sung by our MEP priest).

Here at Holy Family, also celebrate the baptism of adults entering the church.  And we get another round of candle lighting as the newly baptised too get their own candles.  It's a joyous moment, alleluia.

P.S.  Yes, I'm late with this post.  Easter Sunday was on 27th March 2016, some two weeks ago.  I've been busy!  

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