Like most of my friends, I’m yearning for Easter this year, mainly because warmer weather isn’t expected to start until then. It will be nice to go outside without a coat and see people wearing bright colours after months of black.
The season started with Lent in mid-February, followed by weeks of fasting and contemplation by the faithful. On Maundy Thursday, March 21, many churches performed the ritual washing of feet. Orthodox churches, like the Ethiopian Orthodox church, will be doing this May 2.
Palm Sunday is today March 24. A procession commemorating this triumphant event went from St. Paul’s Basilica to St. Michael’s Cathedral yesterday. Palm leaves are usually carried on Sunday.
On Good Friday March 29, St. Helen’s Church in our Portuguese neighbourhood will have an outdoor procession. Little Italy will again be the place to see our largest and most dramatic street procession.
For the Orthodox and Eastern churches, Good Friday is May 3. Good Friday March 29 is the day of the annual Ecumenical Justice Walk, an important event that confronts us directly with Toronto’s poor and victims of injustices. It brings us closer to the religious meaning of Easter.
March 31 is Easter Sunday. For many Christians, it’s the most important event of the year – the resurrection from the dead of their founder Jesus Christ. Most churches will have services. The Church on the Queensway will have five performances of its Passion Play March 29-31. The Macedonian Orthodox Church in Markham has this painting in its cupola.
Easter Sunday, March 31 is Toronto’s equivalent of a spring festival. Children go on Easter egg hunts and worship the Easter Bunny. People gorge on chocolate. Many families get together over turkey or lamb and special cakes like the Portuguese doce minho. Some Ukrainians will display their beautiful pascha eggs and put wreaths of eggs on their doors.
Enterprising merchants in Markham plan a special breakfast with the Easter Bunny and other goodies. Yonge Street merchants have organized a parade you can join, based on a Fred Astaire-Judy Garland movie set in New York City in 1912. They would like you to participate in vintage clothing. The Beach has a parade with live bands and dancers and an Easter Bunny giving out candy. Last year, Mayor Ford was there.
For those not interested in Easter, there’s a lot of other things happening at low cost in our city of diverse cultures. It’s the time to celebrate the Hindu festival of Holi, and the Jewish Passover. The Easter flower show is on at Allan Gardens and Centennial Park.Today, the Zen Buddhist Temple observes the day of the Buddha’s Parinirvana (Passing or Death). We have lots of foreign movies to see. Bruce Mills and the Kortright Centre will continue to demonstrate the making of maple syrup until April 7, a Toronto tradition that started March 2. You can find out more about the Idle No More movement at the Big Drum Social, Thursdays at the Native Canadian Centre, Spadina Rd. You are welcome at all these events.
Please see our www.torontomulticulturalcalendar.com for details of most of these. We will be adding more events to this site as we hear about them. Please let us know about other interesting and nearly-free cultural events.
For our Blog on the ritual washing of feet: https://www.torontomulticulturalcalendar.com/2012/04/14/251-ethiopian-orthodox-church-maundy-thursday/.
For our blog on the 2012 Easter: https://www.torontomulticulturalcalendar.com/2012/03/28/245-torontos-multicultural-easter/
St Helen’s Church is at 1678 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M6K 1V3. 416-537-1719.