Monday, March 16, 2009

Australian's on Lent?

My family and I have been in Australia almost a year. One of the things we noticed since we arrived that, most Ozzies don't go to church. Nothing wrong with that, each person has the right to attend Sunday services or not.

What's more, we were told by a realtor that, there are a lot of churches which are closing down, and individuals have taken to purchasing these sacred buildings and adapting them for family living. THAT was a bit odd to me, as I am a preacher's daughter - and all. I mean... I guess a church is 'just a building' per se, but... I have a hard time accepting the idea of a church or temple being used as a house. Or, being converted into a disco (in NY).

So, understanding that Australia is not a church going country, was not a far fetch for me. The same realtor who explained that churches were being made into homes, said that this was because of the fact that Australia was a penal colony, therefore people were much more keen on building pubs than churches. There are A LOT of pubs down under, I can assure you. Also, pubs or bars are also called 'hotels' here, so you can imagine the confusion which happens, every time someone says "Lets go to the hotel for a drink." As I mill things over in my head "Hmmm... are they asking me to go to a hotel with them? How dare they?" Nope, their intent was to just go to the bar/pub.

Ever learning the terms and slang. I finally understand their accents, now the weird words have me spinning.

Church-going they are not. Pub-going they are! Imagine my surprise when I went into my local supermarket to purchase the kids' snaks and lunch items, and at the fish counter I see an advertisement strip adorning the fresh shrimp ('prawns' in Oz), flounder and salmon, stating 'Especially for Lent'. LENT? I know a handful of people who still observe lent, and most are Orthodox Christians. Even the Catholics have relaxed on Lent. One can pick and choose what they'll give up for Lent. You can give up candy ('loolie' in Oz) or the internet (I couldn't believe this one either) in observance of the 6 week period before Easter, according to the Catholics whom I have 'drilled' on the subject.

For one reason or another, the Australians still mention Lent... though I hardly believe they observe it. Interesting, don't you think? I intend on giving up high heel shoes for Lent this year. ;)

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