Being an Orthodox Christian, oftentimes I don't celebrate Easter along with the rest of the Western world. The Orthodox Church is on a different calendar, which means that we follow different guidelines for when Easter will be held. This year, we are a week behind the Westerners. So right now we are in Holy Week, and the anticipation is still building- we're not there yet (although I must say I never experienced a whole lot of anticipation as a Protestant, except that choir rehearsals got to be more frequent). There are services every night this week, and tonight has got to be one of my favorites.
But I feel a little strange saying that this is my favorite service, because ultimately I think it sounds like "I love that part when they kill Jesus". Tonight is all about the crucifixion, and the cross is taken around the church, and the service is incredibly somber (and very long). But of course it is extremely emotional, in a subdued sort of way, and the resolution comes only after 3 days of waiting, just like it did in real life. The services between now and Saturday at midnight are ones in which Christ is taken down from the cross and placed in the tomb, and you have to wait until that midnight service on Saturday to celebrate the culmination of it all: the resurrection. There is no way for me to express what an experience this is, it's just incredible. I almost want to warn people against asking me about it, because I know how much time I will take to explain it. But I highly recommend that anyone with any religious inclination take part in this week of Orthodox services sometime in their life. It's beautiful.
At 2am Sunday morning I will be eating meat, cheese, chocolate, and drinking alcohol, with the words Christos Anesti! on my lips.