I think there’s probably a law against carrying an open flame in the subway. I’m not sure. But it’s a pretty safe bet. This threw my Easter celebrations into flux last year.
Usually I spend Easter with my family in Baltimore. Last year, though, Greek Orthodox Easter fell on the same Sunday as “American” (i.e., Protestant and Catholic) Easter, so I decided to stay in New York rather than deal with holiday traffic.
At the Cathedral, we lit candles to signify that now that Jesus is sitting at the right hand of God in heaven, we, the believers, are to be to the light to the world. We carry our lit candles out of the church with us at the midnight Easter service, and shine them for all the world to see on our way home. Up until last year, that had always meant carrying our lit candles into my uncle’s van.
Last year, though, I took the subway to the Easter service. When I left the Cathedral, lit candle in hand, I realized I was more than twenty blocks from my apartment. How could I get home with my candle still lit?
Surely, I’d get stopped if I tried to go in the subway.
What cabbie wouldn’t object?
I can never figure out the bus system, and it certainly wouldn’t be the solution anyway.
So, I hoofed it. I got a lot of stares from passersby on my walk home. At first, the masses coming from the Cathedral looked like we’d attended a vigil. Or, maybe we were part of a weird cult. As the crowd dispersed—east, west, uptown, downtown—we began to look like solitary candle holders. Who were we? Why were we carrying candles across city sidewalks in the middle of the night?
I’m glad you asked.