A couple of villages over sits the village of Zalavár. Zala is the name of the Hungarian county we live in and vár is Hungarian for castle. Back in the day, many centuries ago, Zalavár was a metropolis, boasting a monastery, a convent, a brewery, and a castle of course. Today, it’s one of a string of villages that loop around the lesser-known Hungarian lake, the Kis-Balaton. To drive on the dike road that crosses the Kis-Balaton, we have to pass through Zalavár. On one corner of the village is a stage of sorts marked by a couple of painted bicycles. It’s used for pageantry. Come harvest time, the locals will have it all decked out with corn men and bales of hay. This weekend, they’ve pulled the eggs out and it’s ablaze with color, both trees laden with eggs, the ground littered with painted log rabbits. Elsewhere in the village, more rabbits and bale bunnies pop up. The locals have been putting their home time to good use.
Hanging painted eggs from trees is a lovely tradition. Buying branches of pussy willow from old nénis in the street was something I did every year. My Easter eggs are on display year-round (too much of a pfaff to take them down and store them). Some of the eggs are painted, others have crocheted lace covers, others are beaded. The markets this time of year would be full of them, if we had markets. Very often a year’s worth of work would be sold in the leadup to Easter. And this year…no markets, no sales. These artists, like many others, have lost out to COVID-19.
It’s difficult to tell one day from the next right now. That it’s a long weekend in a lot of countries makes little difference. Family get-togethers will have been cancelled or postponed. Traditional Easter Sunday dinners will be smaller and tamer. Easter-egg hunts will be less competitive. And the Easter Bunny might well be in quarantine himself. Am grateful for this slice of colour and a sign that life continues. Whatever you’re doing this Easter, make the most of it. Kellemes Húsvéti Ünnepeket.