Catholics singing in the street on Easter?
March 31, 2013 12:04 PM   Subscribe

I was awakened at 6:30 am by around hundred people - some in robes carrying large banners - and a band with loud drums, all proceeding down my street and singing something in a foreign language. What was it all about?

I live near a Ukrainian Catholic church in the US. I don't know anything about Catholicism and I'm not too familiar with Christianity in general. Can anyone shed some light on what they were doing? I'm sure it was something related to Easter, but I'm unable to find anything online that might explain what they were doing (or why they were allowed to make such a racket and shuffle unescorted down a city street so early on a Sunday morning).
posted by theraflu to Religion & Philosophy (9 answers total)
An Easter parade?
posted by limeonaire at 12:12 PM on March 31, 2013

Probably a sunrise Easter service. Easter is the single most ceremonial Catholic holiday, and there is some specific theological meaning to starting the service outside the church building and then moving inside (I forget what it actually is, if I ever knew it, hopefully some Ukrainians who know will pop up here!).
posted by Snarl Furillo at 12:17 PM on March 31, 2013 [1 favorite]

The service starts outside the church doors, which symbolize the sealed tomb, and then once inside, jubilation. Pascal Processession. There's also "vesnyanky", Easter songs.
posted by Ideefixe at 12:18 PM on March 31, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: So as a Ukrainian catholic, what you saw was the (byzantine rite) easter service, which starts outside, involves processions, a 2-3hr mass and then ends with singing and dancing in the street. (Traditionally singing and dancing are forbidden during lent, more interestingly, the dances performed have their roots in prechristian Slavic spring songs/rituals)

They"re allowed to do it god early in the morning since its once a year, and its probably too much of a hassle for the police to shut them down. (I live across from a Ukrainian catholic church, and the police do actually block off the road for them here on easter morning, but I could see how its a ton of hassle for all involved).

the church probably sells pyrogies as a fundraiser on weekends. I recommend getting some.

posted by larthegreat at 12:36 PM on March 31, 2013 [10 favorites]

Your post made me homesick. I used to live in a town with a strong Moravian Congregation. Easter Sunday, just before daylight, a horn ensemble would play through town. It was so hauntingly beautiful to wake up to.
posted by myselfasme at 12:39 PM on March 31, 2013 [2 favorites]

Oh and odds are they are Ukrainian catholics, its split by archdiocese as to whether they celebrate during "American" easter or follow the orthodox calendar (I get to celebrate twice!)
posted by larthegreat at 12:40 PM on March 31, 2013 [1 favorite]

As for "why they were allowed to make such a racket .... so early on a Sunday morning": More than likely, they were not 'allowed' to do so --- and even if they did have a parade permit, most communities have noise ordinances that forbid that kind of thing before 7am, and frequently the cops will hand out citations.

What I would do is stop by the church tomorrow and nicely explain to the priest that it's objectionable to the neighbors.

Just for the heck of it, also call your local police dept. and see if there was a parade permit issued, and if so for what times this morning: not that the cops can do anything about it now beyond them, too, going to talk to the priest (so making a formal complaint is probably a waste of time); but knowing what if any violations they made with this moring's parade will arm you for next year's.
posted by easily confused at 2:05 PM on March 31, 2013

As to "why they were allowed to make such a racket and shuffle unescorted down a city street so early on a Sunday morning."

Even if they didn't have a permit, local authorities may be thinking, "oh, hell, 1 Sunday out of 52, 1 day out of 365..." Which is the attitude I myself would consider embracing if this happened outside of my window.
posted by skbw at 2:17 PM on March 31, 2013 [19 favorites]

Response by poster: easily confused: I don't need to take those steps, since I was only mildly annoyed and went back to bed right away. I'm just here asking for some much-needed context!
posted by theraflu at 5:44 PM on March 31, 2013 [1 favorite]

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