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Keeping Easter traditions alive

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Catholic families will celebrate Easter in many different ways this year, reflecting the diversity of parishioners in the Adelaide Archdiocese. For many members of the thriving Syro-Malabar Catholic community this will mean honouring their Indian heritage through the tradition of preparing and sharing kalathappam on Holy Thursday.

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A traditional rice bread from Kerala in southern India, kalathappam is believed to have originated from the Jewish community that settled in the region in the 12th century. The fried bread is made from rice flour, urad dal, fried shallots and coconut flakes (or a different version can be steamed) and is served with a sweet dipping sauce.

As Cherian Koiparampil from Flagstaff Hill explained, his family will attend the 5pm Syro-Malabar Mass at Queen of Angels Church on Holy Thursday before returning home to prepare the bread. Tradition dictates that the bread is broken by the father, or head of the family, and then distributed to each family member, in order of age.

“It’s a solemn occasion which we share as a family,” he said.

Since coming to Australia in 2002, Cherian and his wife Preethi have been vigilant about passing on their Indian traditions to their son Vivek and daughter Vinaya.

While Maundy Thursday will be a time to reflect on the suffering and crucifixion of Jesus on Good Friday, in contrast Easter Sunday will be a “big celebration” in the household.

With the family giving up eating meat during Lent, many friends will join them throughout the day to enjoy “lots of good Indian food”, Vivek said.

As a youth leader with the Syro-Malabar community, Vivek said he tried to add a “modern touch” to Lent by encouraging the children to give up something “more relevant to them” such as Instagram, You Tube or movies for the 40 days.

The Syro-Malabar community in the Archdiocese has seen incredible growth in recent years and now has three worship centres located in Parafield Gardens, Thebarton and St Mary’s.

Sr Jasmine Lawrence cp works closely with the community and said there were about 400 students taking part in catechism this year
“This community is really alive,” she said.

“We have a lot of traditions but the most important is keeping Christ in the centre of life.”

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