At midnight on the night of Easter day, it’s traditional to go to church with a candle and listen to the priest.
The whole town goes and, after cramming into the church, or even just into the gardens, the priest begins to light the candles of the gathered masses and the whole place sing songs and join him in prayer, before walking 3 times around the church then going home.
The candle symbolises Christ coming into your life and lighting it up, so once you’ve walked the candle home, you go into each of the rooms in your house and bring the light to the whole house.
So, at 11:50pm, me and some of the family made our way to the church and waited in the cold wind outside. Obviously, I understood nothing at all as the whole sermon was in classical Romanian, and was just relieved when the candles started emerging from the church.
After singing a little, some of the less committed (myself included) decided that we’d done our bit of Christianity/tradition for the time being and made a beeline for the door, hands over the flame as we tried to ensure that our homes had enlightment and all that.
My candle had a small wrap of tissue at the base to try to stop the wax getting on my gloves (a failure as you can see) and being the clumsy heathen that I am, my flame went off 4 times on the way back, being saved only by kind strangers and smokers I was walking home with.
By the time I entered the house with my flame alight I was so keen to get to all the rooms and light them all up. Elena’s mum met me at the door and, as I took my shoes off and she congratulated me on bringing the flame all the way home, the tissue paper caught light and started a pretty wild fire in my hands.
I could just about murmur "Eu am o problema" before I realised the fire was about 20cm high in my hands.
Still not wanting to give up, I had to decide between blowing the flame out (and possibly risking eternal damnation or something) or legging it around a house of sleeping in-laws with an increasingly dangerous, scaldingly hot flame.
Luckily, Elena’s mum made the decision for me and blew the thing out, before I had the chance to think too long about it.
Not really sure what that does for my eternal soul, but I’m sure that St. Peter won’t look too harshly upon my efforts…