Tag Archives: Comrade Petroi

Teodor Flonta~Memories of Easter in Transylvania

19 Apr

On Facebook today my friend, Teodor Flonta shared  his childhood Easter traditions growing up in Romania during a Communist regime. With his gracious permission, I am sharing them with you~Onisha Ellis

From Teodor


to all my friends from around the world with #Tasmanian eggs coloured with onion skin, just as my Mama used to do long time ago when I was a little boy in #Transylvania! You can read an excerpt from ‘A Luminous Future’ about my Easter there.

Mama borrowed an old Bible from Piţurca, the only one in the whole village, and started reading to me in the evening. On Thursday night, we would creep into the church, terrified that we would be seen and reported to Comrade Petroi. The church was dimly lit. We would sit on the cold and hard floor in front of the altar, jumping at any slight flicker of the shadows. Father Iordan said that we were like the early Christians, who had to practise their religion in secret. At the end, we would leave only after checking that nobody was on the road. This went on until Easter Thursday, when we were allowed to hammer on the toaca until sunset, to announce the death of Christ. The toaca was a 20cm wide board on a 2m pole in the church courtyard. After sunset, neither hammering on the toaca nor the ringing of bells was allowed until Sunday, the day of the Resurrection.

On Easter Sunday women placed little baskets full of coloured hard-boiled eggs and cross-shaped loaves of white bread in front of the altar for the blessing. The children, dressed in white shirts, took the first Communion in front of the congregation. However, the spectacle we were waiting for was to come later in the church courtyard during the frenzied egg-cracking competition. We wrapped one hand across our egg, exposing only the pointy end, and hit each other’s eggs hard. If your egg cracked, you lost your egg.

“Mircea, I bet I can take away your eggs,” I challenged him outside the church.

He gave me a push and responded, “Try this, smarty.”

I tried and lost.

“You want to try another one?” he asked.

I suspected he was so confident because there was something fishy about his egg. So I accepted the challenge, pulling out from my pocket my special egg. I hit hard and a funny, thick sound, not at all like the sound of an egg cracking, was the result.

What did you do, stupid? You have a wooden egg,” said Mircea.

I ran away laughing.

“And yours is filled with pitch. I could hear it,” I said.


Transylvanian born Teodor Flonta is a retired academic, author of ‘A Luminous Future’ – a memoir about life under Communism in the 1950s and 60s – and of multilingual proverb dictionaries and apps (available on iTunes and Google). He lives in Tasmania, Australia, with his wife, Ariella, surrounded by beautiful grandchildren.


You can find Teodor’s books on:  AMAZON   BARNES AND NOBLE


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