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Entered By: Mark
Entry Date: 2008-03-23 20:32:31
Subject: Easter Sunday

     One of the larger cultural differences between Honduras and the USA is seen the week leading up to Easter. America is shared by people with many different faiths or lack thereof. In Christian circles, however, Easter Sunday is the day of celebration. It is likely the day when most chairs or pews are filled in churches. It seems many people show up once a year for church and that once a year coincides with Easter. Some Christians don't mind having fun hiding eggs and giving candy to their children; some do not want to take away from the remembrance of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. In any event, Easter Sunday is the day we celebrate and remember. As a family, we remember the resurrection and we enjoy making it a day to remember for the children as well. Paula and I both had parents that colored eggs with us, gave us candy and took us to church. However, we are sensitive to the fact that some of our brothers and neighbors do not celebrate Easter in this way and we respect their views.       In Honduras, and probably most of Central America, Semana Santa or "Holy Week" is remembered as the week leading up to the crucifixion of Christ. We were even told that we should not be loud on Good Friday (in other words, the children should not play outside). Many stores are closed Wednesday, Thursday, Good Friday and the weekend. Honestly, the church we attend probably had about a third less people today. Many people are traveling back to their homes today after taking their children to the beach or visiting families in another city. The Protestant pastors will tell you that Semana Santa is really a Catholic holiday. However, it has become a nice tradition in which many workers have a three to five day holiday. Very few people here do not recognize Semana Santa, including the Protestants. Unfortunately, the holiday also brings a lot of drinking along with it. I've seen my share of increased drinking in the USA around Christmas, but I've never noticed it around Easter. The roads are also densely populated with police during Semana Santa. They set up cones in middle of the road, wave their arms to tell you to slow down (anything over 15 mph is too fast around the cones) and check to make sure you are not blatantly violating the laws. In our area, there is a police presence every mile of the highway. It would seem they are trying to avert drunk driving as well. Police are never so present as on Semana Santa. The Red Cross also has stops for drivers.       In our small but growing town, some stores are still open on Semana Santa, but our area is supposedly the Protestant hot spot of Honduras. 30 miles away in Comayagua there are far more Catholics. In Comayagua they have some sort of "Carpet" day on Good Friday when different churches set up displays and memorials of the Crucifixion.       Whether we celebrate Good Friday, Resurrection Day or both, the important thing is that Christ is glorified. Then again, we are told to pick up our cross and follow him daily.

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