As the leading full-service care facility for vulnerable children in Armenia, the FAR Children’s Center remains vigilant about protecting its staff and beneficiaries during the unprecedented time of the Covid-19 pandemic. In addition to the now routine procedures, which include disinfecting all surfaces, teaching children about hygiene methods, and monitoring the temperatures of essential staff, Center staff also remain guardians of the children’s well-being. Part of this requires keeping things as familiar as possible. So, while different from previous years, Easter at the FAR Children’s Center was still a joyful celebration.
Children prepared their traditional meal, which included stuffed pumpkin (or ghapama), pilaf and fish, and dyed Easter eggs on the table. With the country on lockdown, the children were unable to leave the Center grounds to attend church as they usually do. Instead, their visiting priest, Father Ashot, who typically meets with them twice a week, explained the history and meaning of Easter, including the symbolism of the dishes that comprise the Easter meal. The egg represents Christ’s rebirth; dying them red signifies the blood of Christ. The rice symbolizes humans, and the raisins in the pilaf are the Christians, he explained.
“Easter (or Zatik) is one of the important holidays in our spiritual traditions,” he said during a Viber call on Saturday evening. “It symbolizes the resurrection of Christ from the dead. On Easter morning we greet each other by saying, ‘Christ is Risen!’ to which the response should be ‘Blessed is the Resurrection of Christ!’”
Children took his message to heart. They greeted one another in this way on Easter morning before setting the table and enjoying lunch together. The meal was followed by the traditional egg “fight,” or egg tapping game, a favorite amongst the kids, where each child tries to crack the shell of the boiled egg of his/her opponent. A session of traditional Armenian dance and free play in the Center’s garden finished off the day.