EASTER IN IRELAND—FESTIVAL OF LAND, FAITH AND NATION
From Our Own Correspondent
EASTER in Ireland! — why do these words stir us like poetry, What associations do they evoke?
Firstly, there is the beauty of the land at this vernal season ; for we are a country people still, and nobody in Ireland lives out of sight of the hills
and green fields and ploughed land. To us' It is "news " that the March wind is
Blowing to flame the golden cup Of many an upset daffodil,
and that the hedges are being bushed for the lambing season. Spring means much to us, because the rhythm of Nature pulses through all Irish life—as it did through English life before the Industrial revolution. Beside the image of the land wakentng in splendour to the zest of the year, there comae to our thoughts also that of the Easter ceremonies in the churches. Holy Week in our capital ought to be experienced by all Catholics who have not lived in a Catholic country — the thronging of the churches that are hot with the fervour of the candles about the Altar of Repose; the devout Dubliners going from church to church, a whole city, as it were, on pilgrimage within its own bounds—this is inspiring to know. Easter Day sees a virtually universal General Communion, and one sees entire congregations filing through the church to the altar rail and out by the sanctuary, an unending stream of communicants, while Mass follows Mass,
Finally, Easter is a patriotic season; the national flag flies in freedom where Once it flew amid bombardment, and the young generation joins with veterans in proud observances.
All this Paschal complex is repeated this year, Nit with the atbrialta bias of war-time, which denies us some of the military pageantry, but intensifies the ardour of religious devotion, while the breaking and sowing of the land goes on with a double vigour, with the demand for more and more tillage.
One senses everywhere e.n expectation of change, development, growth—the hope of a harvest after harrowing, fresh life out of a time of stress. It is a grave but expectant nation that is maturing In Ireland In these strange times.