Before I get into describing my weekend in Haerbin, I'll talk a little about my Easter in Beijing. Easter this year felt a little weird and not much like Easter at all. Signs of Christianity in Beijing are few and far between, so if it weren't for the Jesuit mission of my program, I would have never known it was Easter time. Since TBC is a Catholic Jesuit program, they organized a bus to go to mass that Sunday for whoever wanted to go. I was really curious about the church and mass because the Chinese government doesn't look too kindly upon Christianity. Some churches even require a foreign passport to enter; no Chinese citizens are allowed. The church we went to, South Cathedral, must have been government-sanctioned because they did not check our passports and there were quite a few Chinese citizens there. The mass was in English while the readings were done in English and French. It was a pretty standard mass, albeit packed and extra long. They decided that easter would be a great time to baptise, confirm, and give 1st communion to all the new Catholics. Which is great, but the mass was nearly 3 hours long. Here are some pictures:
Inside was interesting. Instead of a big crucifix above the altar, there was a giant painting of Mary surrounded with christmas lights. And each pillar had a giant projection screen with the words to songs on it.
Here you can kind of see the variety of people who came to mass.
Last weekend, we went to Haerbin, a Russian-influenced city in the north-east.
I will hopefully get a chance to write more later :). In the meantime, some fun pictures.