Diocese offers recipe for reviving paschal tradition

The Syro-Malabar Christians observe a unique family custom on Maundy Thursday.

 
By Jessy Joseph
New Delhi: 

The newly created Syro Malabar diocese in the national capital territory has distributed a recipe to cook a traditional Paschal meal in an effort to revive the age-old customs of this oriental church among its young generation.

“The young migrants have forgotten our local customs. Many of them do not know how to prepare" the Pesaha appam (paschal bread) and pal (milk drink) as part of Maundy Thursday observation in Syro-Malabar families, says Archbishop Kuriakose Bharanikulangara of Faridabad diocese.

"We want to preserve not only the liturgy but also such customs" of the Kerala-based Church, the archbishop told ucanindia.in on Tuesday.

The archbishop said his diocese created a year ago has distributed a leaflet containing the recipe to all its parishes spread over the National Capital Region, Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh.

Traditional families join together to prepare the rice bread and drink made of coconut milk after the Maundy Thursday Church service in the morning. By evening, the eldest in the family cut the bread after reading the Old Testament narration of "Passover feast." He then offers pieces of bread to each in the family. They also visit houses of friends and relatives, sharing the Passover bread and drink.

"The celebration is a local version of the Israelites' Passover rites and Christ's Last Supper. But the new generation has forgotten the ways to prepare the bread and drink. The recipe will help the younger generation to preserve our tradition,” the prelate added.

The preparation for "pesaha appam" starts a week before Holy Thursday.

“We dry rice and grind them a week before," said Chinnmma Chacko, 82. The head of the family makes a cross from the palm leaf collected from the parish church on Palm Sunday and places it on the dough. Then the dough is cooked in steam.

The Delhi Syro Malabar Youth movement (DSYM) initiated the move to distribute recipe. It will be displayed on the notice board in all the parishes and on the youth website, said Father Denny Kattayil, DSYM director.

Sindhu Mathew, a migrant Syro Malabar member, who got the recipe by e-mail said it is "very useful for people like me." The 32-year woman said she "will be making it for the first time this year."

The diocese created in March 2012 is spread over 950,000 square kilometers and caters to more than 100,000 Catholics.

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