I am generally used to eating paskha and kulich on Easter….but I was never opposed to a big ass basket of chocolate from the Easter bunny either!
Easter in the Russian-Orthodox Church
The Russian-Orthodox Church celebrates Easter in a special way. Already on a Saturday night people put on their best clothes and come together in dark churches that symbolise a gloomy world without the light of faith. In the past, satanic creatures were believed to turn especially evil in the night before Easter. People didn’t dare to go outside after sunset as they feared every cat could be a witch and every dog a devil. A church was a safe shelter, though.
At midnight ringing church bells announce the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Priests come to the altar holding a crucifix and candles. Solemnly singing, they walk through the church and then around it. Everyone lights the candles and follow the procession. Churches and cathedrals are now full of singing voices and candle lights.
The Orthodox liturgical chant substitutes a Catholic organ and creates a very special atmosphere. The Mass goes on till dawn.
The holy week is pretty much busy in most Russian homes. Once a spring cleaning is done, it’s time for baking Easter bread. The eggs are painted on Holy (“Clean”) Thursday and fresh Easter cakes (Paskha) are prepared on Saturday. It’s a tough time as Saturday is the last fasting day when orthodox Christians are allowed to eat very little. Tasting food while cooking is also forbidden. But everyone is looking forward to the feast, and the cooks do their best. It is a tradition to bless
The Easter Day starts with a long family breakfast. The table is decorated with fresh flowers, pussy-willow branches and, of course, painted eggs. Besides Easter bread and Paskha that are only eaten on Easter, there is lots of other food on the table like sausages, bacon, cheese, milk, etc. – so basically everything that was prohibited during the Forty Day Fast. However, the feast starts with a piece of aromatic Easter bread.
Sharing food on Easter has been a long tradition in Russia. That is why after breakfast people visit their friends and neighbours exchanging eggs and small Easter breads. If the first egg you get on Easter is a truly gift given from the heart, it will never go bad, says an old Russian wisdom.
It is also common practice to visit cemeteries and bring eggs, some bread and beer to the graves. In doing so, people let deceased loved ones enjoy the feast.
Painted eggs are an international Easter symbol. In Russia Easter eggs are believed to possess magic powers. They are supposed to protect crops against hail damage, keep cattle healthy and ward off evil spirits. An Easter egg hidden in the foundation of a house would bring the owners happiness and prosperity. It should even be possible to make yourself look younger by rolling an Easter egg over the face. So it’s no wonder that painted and blessed Easter eggs used to be kept as lucky charms for a long time.
source credit: http://www.russlandjournal.de/en/rus...lidays/easter/
Russian painted Easter eggs
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