Unusual Easter Traditions

I live in New Orleans.  Recently, I heard about the annual Easter “Keg” Hunt sponsored by a local bar.  (No, I didn’t attend)  Even though I’m not a drinker and don’t encourage alcohol consumption, I have to admit that I was impressed with the creativity.  It got me wondering about other Easter traditions around the world.  Here are just a few that you might find interesting.

In Finland, children often decorate themselves with scarves and sooty faces and go begging in the streets with broomsticks and willow twigs.


Many years ago in Bermuda, a local teacher attempted to explain the ascension of Jesus to his students by making a cross shaped kite and flying it with his students.  Ever since, families in Bermuda celebrate Good Friday by flying handmade kites.


In 966 AD, Polish Prince Miesko was baptized on Easter Monday.  In honor of that event, Polish boys drench people with cool buckets of water.  It is believed by some that young unwed ladies who are drenched will marry within the next year.


In Colombia, people lay off the chocolates on Easter Sunday.  Instead, they enjoy a traditional dinner of iguana, turtle, and large rodents.


On the Greek island of Corfu, people throw clay pots out of their windows on Holy Saturday.  Some say the tradition comes from the Venetians, who used to throw out old pots on New Year’s day.


In some areas of Portugal, Spain, and Mexico, a stuffed character representing Judas receives a fake trial, is hung by the neck, and then is burned on or around Easter.  Often, the Judas “dummy” is stuffed with fireworks so he blows up.  Effigies of unpopular politicians are sometimes hung next to Judas.


The more that I think some of these traditions are unusual, the more I wonder if what I do to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus is found unusual by others around the world.

Happy Easter!

Life of Pi – What Is It Really About?

Life of Pi by Yann Martel

The world isn’t just the way it is. It is how we understand it, no? And in understanding something, we bring something to it, no?  Doesn’t that make life a story?

Yann Martel, Life of Pi


Life of Pi, by Yann Martel, is the story of Piscene Patel, or Pi, the son of a zookeeper from Pondicherry, India.  Pi is the lone survivor of a shipwreck in the Pacific Ocean.  Pi initially shares his lifeboat with an orangutan, a hyena, a zebra, and a Bengal tiger.  Before long, only Pi and the tiger, name Richard Parker, are left alive.  Over their 227-day ordeal, Pi gains dominance over Richard Parker and maintains it until the lifeboat finally makes landfall on the west coast of Mexico.  life-of-pi

In the book, Pi shares his story with two representatives of the Japanese government who are searching for the cause of the sinking ship.  When they disbelieve his outlandish story, Pi offers them a second, boring yet believable story that parallels the first.  He tells them that they can choose the elaborate, yet irrational story through faith, or they may select the rational, extremely believable version.  In the end, they choose the irrational story, which brings you back to Pi’s name, an irrational number.

Pi and Religion

Pi’s irrational understanding of faith is seen as he decides to follow Hinduism, Christianity and Islam simultaneously.  He uses elements of the three religions to help him through the issues that plague him during his ordeal at sea.  Throughout his experience, he credits Hinduism for introducing him to the supernatural, Christianity for acquainting him with the love of God, and Islam for familiarizing him with the daily discipline of intentional prayer.

What It’s Really About (in my opinion)

Even though Life of Pi contains elements from Hinduism, Christianity, and Islam, it’s my opinion that the book is not about religion.  It’s a book about how our lives are filled with stories.  Everyone, everywhere, is a storyteller, relaying the experiences of life in story form.  The book suggests that people use stories to process reality, helping us categorize and compartmentalize the chaotic events of our lives.  As Pi would seem to suggest, the approach we choose dictates our understanding of the world around us.  1353491113024.cached

I enjoyed the book Life of Pi and the movie interpretation.  It’s a good commentary on the stories of our lives.  However, it may confuse people about these three major religions.  No matter what Martel suggests, Pi was virtually a Hindu, adopting elements of the other religions into his Hinduism.  The book also tends to drag on in parts, tempting the reader to skim or quit reading.  The movie was very well done, staying true to the book for the most part.  However, it portrays Pi as much more of a rebellious and physically adventurous child than the book.

If you’ve read the book or seen the movie, I would be curious as to your comments.

Other Reviews by John J Frady:

Review of Oz, the Great and Powerful

Review of Warm Bodies, A Paranormal Romantic Zombie Comedy Narrative Film

Review of Les Miserables

The Skinny on the Hunger Games

Intruder in My House


I woke early this morning and decided to go for a run.  As I dressed and reached for my keys, I felt something disturbing.  I realized that I was not alone.  Then I saw him.  He shook his long pointed finger directly in my face.  I instantly recognized him.

How could I possibly forget him?

I first met him as a child when a bully threatened to beat me up after school.  Later, he sat beside me in college while I took my exams, causing me unfounded anxiety.  And he visited me as an adult, right before I made a bold career move.  Sometimes, he stops by and I don’t see him, but I see what he’s left behind:  broken dreams, forsaken promises, hopelessness, and even despair.

He showed up again this morning in my home unannounced.

I looked him right in the eye and said, “Hello, Fear.”

He rolled his eyes and asked, “Just where do you think you are going?”

“Out for a run.”

“No, you’re not.”

“Why not?”

“Because if you walk out that door, you’ll never come back alive.”

“What do you mean?”

“Just what I said.  You walk out that door, you die.”

“I don’t believe you.”

“It doesn’t matter if you believe.  It’s going to happen.”

“You can’t frighten me.”

“Ha!  I’ve been paralyzing people for thousands of years.  You think you can avoid me?”

I looked down at the floor and held my keys tightly.  For a moment, I thought that maybe I should just wait until tomorrow to run.

“You know,” he said, “God would tell you the same thing.”

“What?” I asked.

“He would tell you exactly what I’m telling you.”

“No he wouldn’t,” I responded, suddenly defiant.  “He doesn’t give us a spirit of fear.  He gives us a spirit of power, love, and a sound mind.”

Fear raised an eyebrow.

“Are you certain?” he asked.

“More than anything,” I answered.  “You get out of my house.  I’m going for a run and you’re not welcome here.”

How To Run For 22 Minutes (Without Stopping) in 7 Easy Steps


I’ve been using the App – C25KFree (Couch to 5K Free) for the past six weeks.  Today, I finished the day 3 workout of week 6, which includes 22 minutes of running without stopping.  In case you’re trying to do the same thing, here are 7 easy steps for running 22 minutes without stopping.  Enjoy.

Step #1 – Wake up in the morning, lay very still and listen intently for rain, snow, sleet, hail, a dense fog, mist, strong winds, mild winds, gentle breezes or anything uncontrollable that might keep you from having to get out of bed to exercise.

Step #2 – While still in bed, tell your wife that you are not in denial about not wanting to exercise.

Step #3 – Angrily roll out of bed, stumping the toes of your right foot on the hard wooden furniture that you insisted on buying fifteen years ago.

Step #4 – Have the following conversation with your wife:

You:  Honey, do you think I should just not exercise today?

Wife:  Why?

You:  My toes really hurt.

Wife:  What happened?

You:  I stubbed them on your furniture.

Wife:  My furniture?  You mean the bed?

You:  Yeah.

Wife:  You’re somehow suggesting that you stubbing your toe…

You:  (interrupting)  Toes!

Wife:  Ok.  You’re suggesting that you stubbing your “toes” on the bed is my fault.

You:  Yes.  If you hadn’t suggested this brand then we wouldn’t have all this hard wood in the house.

Wife:  Go exercise, you big baby.

You:  What?

Wife:  Go.

You:  Ok.

Step #5 – Cry

Step #6 – Change your clothes and walk out the door.

Step #7 – Put your headphones in, play some music, warmup for 5 minutes, then run (or jog) for 22 minutes without stopping.

Enjoy your workout!

Related Posts:

The Stitch – Why I wanted to quit Couch to 5k

Why I decided to lose the lose it App

3 Reasons Soft Drinks Hinder A Good Workout

Review of Oz: The Great and Powerful


One of my favorite parts of going to the movies, besides the popcorn, are the previews.  I enjoy sitting with my wife, guessing if she wants to see the movie being advertised.  Most of the time it’s a big negative.  However, such was the not the case when we first saw the preview for the movie Oz: the Great and Powerful. 

The official trailer for the movie:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_1NGnVLDPog

A brief synopsis of the film:

Oscar Diggs, known to many as Oz, is a carnival magician with flirtatious ways and questionable ethics.  In Dorothy like fashion, Oz, played by James Franco, is taken from drab black-and-white Kansas by a tornado to the colorful enchanting land of Oz.  There, Diggs encounters the three witches Theodora, Evanora and Glenda and is mistaken by many to be the prophesied Wizard of Oz.  Over time, he begins to care about the inhabitants of Oz. This unlikely wizard puts his magical arts, slight of hand, and predictable illusions to work in order to transform himself into the great man that he always wished he could become.

My opinion of the film:

I thought that Oz: the Great and Powerful was ok.  The story line had just enough twists to keep it interesting and the acting was quite good throughout.  At first, I thought that casting James Franco was a mistake.  I wondered if Johnny Depp might have been a better choice for the lead, but I suppose he was busy playing Tonto for the upcoming Long Ranger movie.  As the movie progressed, James did an excellent job of presenting the flawed persona that was in fact needed for the role.

I was impressed with the switch from black and white to color during the film.  It may have been extremely predictable, but I welcomed it completely (probably because I was ready for the screen to show a full wide screen shot instead of the old full screen shot during the black and white scenes.

I was hoping that Oz would become an instant classic.  I don’t believe that is going to happen.  However, it is extremely enjoyable and well worth the cost of the ticket.


Related Posts:

Review of Warm Bodies: A Paranormal Romantic Zombie Comedy Narrative Film

Review of Les Miserables

The Skinny on the Hunger Games

The Stitch – Why I Wanted To Quit Couch To 5k


Last night, C25k (Couch to 5k) Week 5 Day 3 got the best of me.  It was my first time in the program where I was supposed to jog for 20 minutes without stopping, so I was somewhat apprehensive before beginning my time of exercise.  However, two days earlier, I surpassed the 8 minute mark without stopping, then walked for 5 minutes before running another 8 minutes without stopping, so I believed that I could probably pull it off.

I was wrong.

After 9.5 minutes of running, I felt a terrible stitch in my side so I slowed to a walk.  A stitch is sometimes called a side cramp. It’s an intense stabbing pain under the lower edge of the ribcage that occurs during exercise.  After 4 minutes of walking, I ran for another 8.5 minutes.  I finished the workout, but felt terrible because I didn’t meet my goal of running 20 minutes without stopping.

I wanted to just give up and resign myself to being an out of shape fat guy.  That’s not such a bad thing, is it?

Today, however, I decided not to let it get the best of me, so I googled stitches during exercise.  According to my online friends, here are three causes:

1.  Running too soon after eating.  (Waiting two to three hours after eating is best)

2.  Drinking high sugar beverages right before or during exercise.

3.  Shallow or Irregular breathing during exercise.

I also looked for ways to prevent a stitch during exercise.  Here are three options:

1.  Stop running (or at least slow down)

2.  Raise your right arm over your head.  (The stretching sometimes helps relieve the stitch)

3.  Try to exhale as your left foot is moving forward. (This basically helps to set a pattern for your breathing, extremely important in all exercise)

I started running to Michael Jackson’s Don’t Stop ’til You Get Enough.  Before the song was over, a stitch was already forming in my side.  I started slowing down and considered quitting before I even reached 5 minutes.  However, slowing down helped, so I continued.  Around the 10 minute mark, the stitch returned, so I started watching my breathing, ensuring that I was exhaling as my left leg moved forward.  That seemed to help, so once I continued.  Finally, it returned around the 14 minute mark and I wanted to quit, but since I had already come so far I pressed on.  I slowed my running, focused once again on my breathing, and raised my right arm over my head.  The three items together helped and before I knew it, I had run for 20 minutes without stopping.

As I reached the 20 minute mark, Michael Jackson was singing Bad.  That’s exactly how I felt.


I Survived My First Day of Week 5 of Couch to 5K


A minute before my running time was up today, my side starting hurting.  I couldn’t believe that I might have to stop before my time was up.  However, instead of stopping the run, I decided to slow down until my cool down.  My side didn’t stop hurting, but it did ease up enough for me to finish the run. 

This afternoon, I started week #5 of C25K (Couch to 5K).  My workout for today began with a brisk 5-minute warmup walk followed by a 5-minute run, a 3-minute walk, another 5-minute run, a second 3-minute walk, a third 5-minute run, then a 5-minute cool-down walk.  I’m proud to say that I finished it without stopping (or vomiting).  However, my second day of week #5 takes me to a new level completely.  It begins with a brisk 5-minute walk, followed by an 8 minute run, a 5 minute walk, another 8 minute run, then a 5 minute cool-down walk.

If I survive this week of exercise, I’ll let you know.  🙂

Related Posts:

Why I chose to try the couch to 5k free workout app

Week two of Couch to 5k

3 Reasons Soft Drinks Hinder A Good Workout