Ivanca has been here from Bulgaria almost eight years and has been our housekeeper for several years now. She is an accountant by training, cleans a mean house, has a good heart, and we love her dearly. She is a religious woman and follows Bulgarian Orthodox beliefs which includes spending a lot of time at church. For example, not only did she go to church on Easter Sunday for five hours but also on Good Thursday, Good Friday, and Good Saturday. She brought us dyed Easter eggs and a home-baked Easter bread which is braided like a Jewish Challah but with a hard boiled, red dyed egg in the center. The color red symbolizes the blood of Christ, and the egg represents new life.
Per Orthodox tradition, the week after Easter a special service is held to commemorate all those who have passed away. A sweet bread with red egg is baked again at home and shared in church, candles are lit for the departed, special prayers area said, and in memory of their departed relatives and friends each person brings something to share like cake, fruit, or candy.
Being a “church candle kind of person” I never miss an opportunity to light a candle for those whom I love and who have left us behind. When traveling in Europe, I never passed a church that I didn’t go into to light a candle with a little prayer for those who are no longer with us. Following my tradition, after mom passed, I asked Ivanca to light a candle for mom when she was at her church the week after Easter. I gave her a small donation for the church and a picture of mom with “Adeline” written on it which Ivanca placed at the alter of her church. She brought a bag of candy to share with her fellow parishioners in mom’s memory.