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  • On Saturday, a little before midnight, I stood on a balcony watching crowds of people walk to the church just below, unlit candles clasped in hand. They're walking with hope in their minds, I thought. After all, if Christ's resurrection didn't give them hope, what could? Minutes later, they shuffled away from the church, its bells still ringing, people holding their palms in front of the now lit candles, fighting the spring breeze to carry the holy flame home. The flame of hope.

    The next day, many will run to the local butcher at 7a.m., pick up the slaughtered lamb they ordered, put it on a spit, and wait for it to cook over the fire. Some would dig ditches in their gardens, make a one-use barbeques and take turns turning the spit with their hand for hours; the traditional way. Others will buy little motors that do the job for you. Fat will drip off the cooking animal, oiling its skin, the skin that’s toasted to a crunchy perfection.
    The lamb will finally be transferred to a table, sometimes whole, where family and friends stab and pick at its flesh.

    The day will be merry, always made merrier with loads of ouzo and wine, and traditional music played loud enough to interfere with the neighbors’ playlist. By nightfall, lamb coats stomachs, alcohol calms and fuzzes minds, friends and family hold hands in dance, while our mouths silently speak: We are Greeks. We do not lose hope.
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