Skip to comments.Online Exclusive: Good Friday: A good day for faith, family and food
Posted on 04/13/2006 9:25:32 AM PDT by Heartofsong83
Online Exclusive: Good Friday: A good day for faith, family and food
Web Posted: 04/11/2006 12:00 AM CDT Teri Flores
"Why do we have to get up - it's Good Friday?
"But abuelita, there's no school today!
"We don't have to be at church until 3 this afternoon."
"No le hace, se tienen que levanter y ayudarme. Handenle, ya tengo las almendras remojando y la nues se tiene que quebrar y pelar. ¡Pronto, lavense, vistanse, y a la cocina!" (It does not matter. You have to get up and help me. Let's go! I have the almonds in water and the nuts need to be shelled. Wash up, get dressed and to the kitchen!")
I could already smell the anise, piloncillo and canela boiling on the stove. I loved that sweet scent. It would fill the entire house and last all day through. Ummm, I could almost taste abuelita's capirotada just with that smell. "Sientense, coman pan dulce y un vaso de leche que comeremos antes de ir a la iglesia." ("Sit. Have some sweet bread and a glass of milk before we go to church.")
More Coverage Sharing faith and culture through food ... Online exclusives: Good Friday: A good day for faith, family and food l Recipe: Capirotada For Good Friday, a family picks, cleans and then eats Nopalitos l Recipe: Nopalitos Omelet
I didn't like to get up early on a no-school day, but I loved Good Friday. It was the best day of cuaresma and abuelita prepared a feast. Caldo de frijol made with fresh-made beans, cilantro, cebollita verde (green onions) and tiny little balls of Cheddar cheese, which she dropped in the soup at the very end when she was ready to serve it. Papitas lampriadas, mashed potatoes with cheese, deep fried after the patties were coated with egg. Nopalitos guisados con sebollita, ajo y tomates. (Fried cactus with onion.) Tortitas de camaron lampriado - I could almost taste the shrimp patties as I watched them bubbling in the hot oil.
Arroz prepared with fresh ground peppercorns, fresh comino, several cloves of garlic and tomatoes, which were all ground together in the molcajete. "Que no se te queme el arroz, Teresa. Andale Rosa. ¿Ya moliste las especias, los ajos y tomates? Ya todo lo demas esta listo." ("Don't let the rice burn, Teresa. Let's go, Rosa. Have you ground the spices, the garlic and the tomatoes? Everything else is ready.")
"What about the capirotada, abuelita?" "Le falta un poco mas en el horno." (It still needs a bit more time in the oven.")
Ummm, capirotada with its layers of toasted pan frances (French bread), soaked with a mixture of milk which was boiled separately, cooled, then mixed with the anise, piloncillo and canela liquid. This was topped with slices of sharp Cheddar, then sprinkled with the nut and raisin mix. She used a large deep pan so that the layers would be repeated several times. On the very top she would sprinkle a mixture of cinnamon and sugar and the multicolored candy with the anise seed in the middle. It baked covered for about an hour, then she would uncover it and bake it just a few minutes longer so the top would sort of brown a little. I could hardly wait to return from church. By then, the capirotada would have cooled down a little.
"Bueno vamos a dar gracias a Dios y comeremos. Que no se nos haga tarde para las Siete Palabras." ("Well, then. Let us give thanks to God and eat. Let's not be late for the Seven Words.") Our grandmother considered this an important sermon, the seven last words Jesus spoke, one we should not be late for.
It was about 2 o'clock in the afternoon, and we were all ready to walk to Our Lady of Guadalupe Church to listen to Las Siete Palabras. The walk would be long, and the day was already quite hot. The services would start at 3 p.m., so we should be there timely. We crossed Tampico Street and waved goodbye to the ladies at (the dry cleaners.) My abuelita mutters something like, "Ni siquiera en Viernes Santo cierra este hombre." ("Not even on Good Friday does this man close down.") The owner, whom we only knew as Nicho, was a tight-fisted businessman who rarely closed his business. Now we are on San Jacinto Street past Mrs. Chavez' grocery store, which is closed today. " Abuelita, ayi es donde va a las clases de ciudadania - el MCI (Mexican Christian Institute)." (Grandmother, that is where you go to civic classes.) "Si andenle apurense que se nos hace tarde." "Vamos a crusar la calle que hace mas sombra en el otro lado. " (Yes, let's hurry so we are not late. Let's cross the street to where there is more shade.")
Finally we cross Guadalupe Street, turn on Fite Alley and again on El Paso and we are there. "Andenle que no quiero sentarme en las bancas de atras, y no se les olvide persinarse con la agua bendita." ("Hurry, I don't want to sit in the rear pews. And don't forget to make the sign of the cross with the holy water.")
We hurry to pick a pew near a circulating fan and kneel a while to say an "Our Father" and a "Hail Mary." Ahh, it is nice to sit and feel the air as the fan turns our way. I turn to look at abuelita, and she is still praying. Rosa and I are already done and waiting for the padre to come in and get started on his sermon. We look around and are glad we came early, the church is full; some people are even standing on the sides. I feel a tug, my abuelita is asking us both to turn around and pay attention. The padre is making his way up to the pulpit. Abuelita whispers "pongan atención y que no les de sueño. " ("Pay attention and don't get sleepy.") As if we could avoid feeling sleepy after the feast we just had.
The padre starts his sermon, and I hear him say "Padre, perdonalos porque no saben lo que hacen." I assume he is talking about Jesus asking God to forgive those who had crucified him. I tried to concentrate on what he was saying, but my mind kept wandering off. Tomorrow would be Holy Saturday, and we would be able to eat candy and drink sodas or Kool-Aid again. "Tengo sed," I hear the padre say. This must be when Jesus said he was thirsty. The padre says something about our thirst should be a desire to become closer to God. Again I'm off thinking of something else.
On Sunday my daddy would take us to the firemen's picnic at Comanche Park. My sister Rosa and I would have so much fun. We would eat our barbecue plate hurriedly so daddy would take us to the playground. There he would push each of us on the swings as we competed to see who would swing higher. I don't know how long my mind wandered but before I knew it, the padre was saying, "Todo esta terminado," all is finished. Jesus had died. I turned to look at abuelita, and I thought I saw a tear coming down her cheek. It could not be. Abuelita never cried. I never even saw her cry at abuelito's funeral. Is she crying for Jesus? I guess it is sad, the way he died and the way he was treated, I thought, but I didn't know my abuelita loved him so much.
My newly "born again" colleague at work is somewhat skeptical that I am taking the afternoon off to go to church and not play golf. Church is only on Sunday...if nothing more important comes up.
We're supposed to be fasting!
Forget the afternoon - take the whole day off, even if without pay.
O fer cryin' out loud! Good Friday is no day for feasts. Any real Catholic is fasting. Deport these Marxists back to Mexico.
(What? Whaddaymean they're *legal.* Hmmmph. Darn.)
I wish you all God´s blessings on this Holy day. This is a beutiful account of a beutiful tradition, I wonder is it similar to the traditions of most Americans? Today is a national holiday here in my country, Iceland. Until this year every store had to be closed, but gas stations could be open. Sadly in some ways to me, although being a staunch free marketer, it has been changed and many stores, specially high service stores are open. I just hope nobody goes shopping today, so in the future they will be mostly closed.
It has been rather funny though to see people walk to a store close by to where I live wich is traditionally open 24-7 and finding to their surprise it is closed. They watch the store, scratch their head, and then finally realise when reading the sign in the door it is closed. Sadly this will not be the case any more and this holy day will become more like any other.
In iceland this is a national flag day, but you are supposed to flag in half mast, to remember the day that Jesus died, as it is customary to fly flags at half mast when some dies. Every public institution flies our beutiful cross flag at half mast today, and many companies and individuals. Sadly that is though not as common as before. Best wishes from Iceland and Happy Easter,
But, of course, children do not fast and these are childhood memories. Any time my Grammy made special foods for holidays that was a big deal. I'm sure for the adults it wasn't quite as exciting as it was for the children.
Soup, potato patties, fried cactus, shrimp patties, rice and a special dessert doesn't exactly sound like a bacchanal.
Thank you very much.
This is a beutiful account of a beutiful tradition, I wonder is it similar to the traditions of most Americans?
Similar in some ways for many Catholics. We are in the middle of three days recalling the Last Supper, Christ's death and Resurrection. In Spanish, Cuaresma. As many as can will go to church during the day. We will read the Passion of Christ, this year from the Gospel according to Mark. Many will follow the Way of the Cross. Adults will eat only one meal, no meat.
Today is a national holiday here in my country, Iceland.
I don't think this has ever been a government holiday in America but I think it used to be more common for businesses to close. Now hardly anyone remembers.
I just hope nobody goes shopping today, so in the future they will be mostly closed. Yes!!!
In iceland this is a national flag day, but you are supposed to flag in half mast, to remember the day that Jesus died...Sadly that is though not as common as before. I hope you feel free to remind anyone that neglects this tradition that their flag should be at half staff. It's actually a very sad day and most of us would prefer to forget Jesus on the cross. We're human, we choose the easy way, to look away and forget.
Best wishes from Iceland and Happy Easter
Happy Easter, Leifur. And God Bless Iceland!
Where do you live? Around these parts (DC metro), Good Friday is practically an "unofficial holiday." (Since Easter falls on a Sunday, there's no "three-day weekend," so most people take Friday or Monday off, if they're not given it... Catholics, of course, take Friday off, but it shouldn't seem strange to non-Catholics, who probably take Monday off, if not Friday!
>> Church is only on Sunday...if nothing more important comes up. <<
Sad... newly "born again," yet already so distant...
After I wrote my silly post, I was afraid people wouldn't get that I was being silly.
Sad... newly "born again," yet already so distant...
He came to it from a lifetime in the LDS and he's a member of a "seeker" church.
I consider him a neophyte. He gets a lot of breaks from me.
That's the way it should be in the US and other countries as well. Unfortunately, that stupid "separation of church and state" comes into play...
You should ask them to close back up next year.
Our local school district says they have th day off only because there are so many absences. Not because it is a religious holiday. I am just happy that the school across the street didn't call it Spring Day again this year.