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From Fasting to Feasting

While Christians across the globe celebrate the resurrection of Christ, this feast like any other has food as an integral part of the celebrations. NT BUZZ speaks to people about fasting and feasting, diet and detox and overindulgence after fasting…

Danuska Da Gama | NT BUZZ

The menu was decided, probably even before the week of Lent ended. Today as many Christians celebrate Easter, the feast on the table that will have meats galore and a well stocked up bar counter at home- isn’t only to celebrate the resurrection of Christ but a reward for the people who’ve managed to keep at bay their temptations, alcohol, or who used this period to diet and shed some pounds.

Wine and dine on Easter

Undoubtedly, we Goans love our food, and celebrations are witness to the fact. From planning menus, placing orders for food, to queuing up at the butcher’s shop as early as possible, all this is inevitable, especially for Easter.

But then imagine a plate with some pulao, beef chilly fry, pork sorpotel, pork roast, beef stew,chicken cafreal, fish fry, and salad. The visual can be appetising but definitely too much for consumption at one go.

But for many, after fasting for over forty days, overindulgence is justified. “It’s not easy for a meat and fish eating Goan to stay off his staple food. And when that’s done, we fast knowing that someday it will end and we will be able to consume it. Nobody wants to overindulge, but when you’ve not eaten something you like for long, it’s but obvious you’ll eat a lot more. And by the time the signal of being full is sent to your brain, you’ve finished having three helpings,” says Daniel D’Souza, who says he’s going to leave out the meats and have a fish feast.

Beef and pork preparations top the list for a lot of people. Ruth Costa believes that there’s nothing wrong over indulging on one day, after all it is rejoicing about Easter.

“Overindulging on Easter, why not? Jesus on this day over 2000 years ago rose from the dead,” she says.

At Ethel da Costa’s home the menu will be a bowl of assorted salad, roast chicken, chilled rosé, and some chocolate pudding.

When it comes to beverages, on the top of the list is urrak (the local cashew drink). This is followed by beer, scotch and vodka, and wine for the ladies. “It’s been a double sacrifice this time, with less food, no urrak and power failure. So, this Sunday calls for an urrak party with lime and chilli,” says a senior citizen from Calangute.

Agnes Pinto from Vasco also believes there’s absolutely nothing wrong with over indulging on Easter. “I myself do it because I feel that you understand the pain of something you value only when it is taken away.”

Fasting a good way to diet

Maintaining weight and cleansing the body are what most health conscious people like following. Combine this and Lent period together, the target of losing those extra kilograms becomes easier and when that happens it’s a cheat day or feast day on Easter.

And while some people might have a different notion of how Lent should be observed, there are others who find no reason why the two can’t be combined for their own benefit and be followed as a religious tradition.

“Fasting is a great detox for the body, and a cleanser for the soul, if done in the spirit of re-evaluation of life during Lent.  But over indulgence of anything, is dangerous, and frankly doesn’t do justice after you’ve given your body a new lease of life. Easter for me is a reminder that eventually we are all dust, but the spirit is immortal,” says Ethel.

Samantha Pereira (name changed) tells us that since she loves sweets, she stayed off sugar. And that, she says, worked both ways for her, resisting temptations and offering it to God, while she’s also lost 4 kilograms. “I will not over eat but eat more dessert on Easter and less of the main course,” she says.

A few other people gave up meats but continued having alcohol. Then there are those who consumed fish and eggs but didn’t touch chicken and meats.

So today, while the code of conduct might pose a problem for those who want to party outside, indoors within the walls of homes, there will be no restrictions and limits set on the consumption of food and drinks.

A meaningful Easter lunch

Others however disagree on overindulging on the occasion of Easter. “What fasting meant to the others – penance and abstinence for them is perhaps forced. The period of 40 days when one can improve one’s outlook, attitude is lost unfortunately. But, being with all my family after Easter service for a Sunday meal together is my idea of feasting,” says Cyana Hoogwerf.

Restaurateur Belinda Braganza thinks that a fast should be one which also combines good intentions, before the feast on Easter.

“I’ve noticed that the people who fast are hypocrites, they announce to the whole world that they are fasting!  And then overindulge with no self control,” she says.

“I’ll be feasting on good company and feeding others, the happiness that we bring to people through their stomachs is priceless,” she further says.

While Jonathan Sequeira isn’t too religious, he believes the Lent is a time for introspection and not just fast, but for him on Easter wine to pork, and everything else will consumed, “in moderation”, he says.

For Agnes, her Easter lunch will be one to cherish as she’s away from home living in a hostel, and sacrificing eating home-cooked Goan food. “I’m coming home after three months and thus this Easter lunch will be more special,” she says.

In most Catholic homes, families come together to partake in a meal thus strengthening the bond and renewing themselves with the risen Jesus  Christ.

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