Last year at this time, while visiting Oman and Jordan, we went for breakfast on Easter Sunday morning in Muscat, Oman. Three quarters of Omanis adhere to the Ibadi sect of Islam, while the remaining 25% are either Sunni or Shia Muslims. There are small communities of 5% ethnically Indian Hindus and Christians that have been naturalized.
We were staying at Shangri-La in Muscat. The chef’s had prepared a display of Easter inspired treats. It was their take on Western Easter traditions, although there were also baked goods similar to pastries and cakes prepared for Easter celebrated according to the Julian calendar.
The chef's Easter breads, cakes and eggs were a lovely surprise, a considerate gesture...and deeeee-licious.
When arriving in Jordan a week later, where all Jordanian Muslims are Sunni, which means “submission to God”, and the rest of Jordanians are Christian, we were greeted by a display in the hotel foyer and another display at a local restaurant with Jordan's version of Easter treats.
Different beliefs; different cultures; different traditions. Yet, somehow, the barriers between them merged and disappeared. We shared and acknowledged our differing views and beliefs. The food was a symbolic gesture to express an unspoken display of mutual understanding, respect and tolerance.
On this Easter Sunday, regardless of what we believe and how we acknowledge and celebrate Easter, let's all visualise and contemplate a place, let’s call it our world, where, like in James Hilton’s legendary, utopian Shangri-La in his book Lost Horizon, we can live in a world where peace, love, respect, tolerance and harmony are the Lingua Franca.
Whatever you believe or not; however you celebrate Easter or not; Stay Home and enjoy time together today with the ones who mean the most to you in your household or remotely in isolation if the ones for whom you care and love live away from you. And, yes, that will include a dark chocolate egg and a glass of Scion Winery's (Rutherglen) After Dark dessert wine--a perfect match.