Holy Week at Our House: Family Traditions and Memories

This year we have a new tradition in the Spencer house:

The grass really took off this week in our miniature tomb and Calvary scene. Last Friday in my quick takes, there was no growth at all.

But besides this one new tradition, we have been sticking with our normal Holy Week things. Since M and I are both cradle Catholics, Holy Week traditions have been ingrained in us from our first years of life. We mostly have preserved the traditions from M’s side of the family. I started going to his house for Easter nine years ago in college and Holy Week just does not seem like Holy Week without certain things, like Greek kurulaikia and my mother-in-laws chocolate eggs. For Holy Thursday we always have manestra, a greek dish with orzo and lamb, that his mom taught us how to make. I went to the Triduum at M’s charismatic home parish in Ann Arbor, MI all through college and we made it back almost every year that we lived in Buffalo as well. Since we have been in Minnesota we have been going to our parish, St. Agnes, for the Triduum liturgies, which are beautiful as St. Agnes liturgies always are.

Palm Sunrise.

 This year, Holy Week started off with a gorgeous Palm Sunday Sunrise, and me remembering to take the palms away from the children once we got through the procession, which meant normal Mass behavior instead of worse behavior.

Today, M helped me with the kurulaikia and the chocolate eggs, while our Triduum guests, my sister and her boyfriend, played with the children and colored in Stations of the Cross coloring sheets.

This years batch. A couple years ago I made a bread “nest.”

Tomorrow our plans are for my mom’s lentil soup for dinner, and Saturday is for coloring eggs. I am trying to keep all the important traditions but not overexert myself, because, well, third trimester plus guests, plus late nights for the children is a lot in itself. Sunday we are hosting the Wisconsin relatives, which should be lots of fun, because they are really awesome people.

My grandmother and grandfather (both deceased) in Rome early in their marriage. I love this picture of them.

To add to the rambling post, if you recall, today is the 10 year anniversary of Pope Saint John Paul II’s death. My grandmother also passed away on April 2 ten years ago, but she died in the morning. It is a somewhat bittersweet day today. And further, Good Friday is the liturgical anniversary of us finding out about our 7 week old unborn baby’s, John Paul, passing last Spring. But the great thing about the Triduum is that we celebrate the Resurrection every year as well. And remembering those who passed away this week, reminds us also of our Hope in the Resurrection.  Oh, happy fault.

Our family altar the day we buried our little JP.