Easter is also celebrated in Raja Ampat as most people are Christians. So, I asked my English students how they celebrate Easter at home. Their celebrations seem quite similar to ours, just with a local touch. They attend mass with their family or the whole village on Good Friday and Easter Sunday, sometimes starting as early as 4am. On Good Friday, they fast during the day and only have breakfast and dinner. But on Easter Sunday, there is a big lunch after church that may go on for hours with celebrations, music and singing.
When asked if they also had a tradition with eggs, they explained that the priest hides numbered eggs around the church. After mass on Easter Sunday, all church-goers go egg-hunting as there is a prize for every egg they find. The egg marked with no. 1 is worth the most important prize: a new bible. The other eggs will bring the finder a variety of gifts, such as clothes, food, etc.
However, Easter seems to be less important than Christmas for some of our locals, as they are not taking holidays or planning a trip home for Easter this year, even though it would be possible (as opposed to last year, when travelling was not allowed in spring because of the pandemic). Maybe, they are just not used to being at home for Easter as it is normally a busy time at the resort with guests which is why we need most of our staff here.
During normal operations when the resort is open, we don’t celebrate national or religious holidays as very big events. For Easter, for example, we would usually just have a themed breakfast with homemade Easter bunny bread, maybe coloured eggs and some special decoration. But without guests and only half the employees on the island, we try to make something special out of such occasions so as to have an «event» as we call our regular staff activities. And of course, Easter will be our next event.
On Saturday, we will organise a traditional egg hunt at the end of which, there will also be prizes for the lucky finders. And there will be an egg painting and decorating competition for everyone. We will distribute boiled eggs after lunch on Saturday, and our staff will have time to paint or decorate them by Sunday early evening. The most beautiful or original Easter eggs will be awarded at an Easter dinner for all employees on Sunday. All of us will be able to vote for the egg we like most, so it may not necessarily be the most artistic egg that will win the competition. It could also be the most original one. Last year, there were some amazing works of art and very creative ideas (unlike my very mediocre contribution, featuring white Swiss crosses on a red background… needless to mention I didn’t win a prize), so I’m really looking forward to seeing this year’s output!
At home, I like to grab some fresh herbs from my garden or the forest, wrap them around raw white eggs and boil them in hot water containing natural plant colours. The result are reddish, brownish, blueish and yellowish eggs with white patterns in the shape of the herbs I wrapped around. This usually looks beautiful, so I brought some natural plant colours with me from Switzerland and was keen to try this out on the island. Until I found out, that we only have brown eggs… Apparently, eggs with a white shell are much more expensive than the ones with a brown shell, so we don’t buy those. Well, there goes my egg colouring idea. I tried to colour some without the herbs in a colour that was supposed to be dark red, but my eggs turned out in some indefinable shade of brown and purple. Not a very exciting colour, to be honest! So much for that…
Luckily, our employees are much more creative and don’t need fancy colours and extra white eggs to create little pieces of art! So, keep an eye on our social media channels to see this year’s creations on Sunday!
Wishing you a very happy Easter and hoping you will find all the hidden eggs, whether they are decorated or not! And if you haven’t seen it yet, don’t miss our not-so-serious little Easter video that we had a lot of fun creating!
I never even dreamt of working on a remote island in Indonesia, but life has a way of taking care of itself…