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Easter traditions in Ukraine

March 18, 2017 at 1.48pm by

Orthodox Christians celebrate Easter on the first Sunday after the first spring full moon. This is definitely one of the most important holidays for them. Easter traditions include various celebrations and rites that are followed since ancient times. Most of the traditions have a pagan origin but were gladly adopted by the Church to keep the folk united after the baptism or Rus. Ukraine is not an exception in keeping the Easter traditions relevant.

What prefaces the Easter

The Easter day for eastern Christians is the main day among all the religious holidays. That is why the preparation for Easter begins long before to highlight its meaning. This preparation takes quite a long period of 40 days and is named a Great Lent. During this term Ukrainian Christians restrict themselves from eating food, playing games, hold their passions, and – what is important – from getting married!

Great Lent restrictions

During the Great Lent christened Ukrainian ladies visit the church more often and keep the fast. Therefore you should understand and not consider as an offense if the lady will refuse your suggestion to go to the club or a restaurant. She will also refuse if you suggest her any alcohol beverages or a meat dish. Such limitations in all the spheres of life on the upcoming of crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ give Ukrainians more joy and freedom in celebrating his resurrection. Enjoying the fest people have no constraints in food, entertainments, pastime, etc. On a Holy Week Ukrainian ladies prepare for celebrating the Easter especially careful. They bake Easter cakes, boil and decorate eggs, but about all this I will tell a bit later.

Making of Easter eggs

Easter eggs also known as Paschal eggs are made on an Easter day eve. This is one of the common Easter traditions with a rich history. The creation of the dish involves lots of exciting procedures that bring joy not only to children but also to adults.

Symbolism

The egg is an embodiment of rebirth in Christianity and symbolizes fertility since old times. Initially, people used hard-boiled eggs painted on the outside in different colors. Today, however, these eggs are sometimes replaced by chocolate, marzipan, jelly Easter eggs. These Easter eggs Ukrainian women place in baskets that symbolize a bird’s nest and serve not only as a food but also decoration on a festive day.

Fragile masterpieces

Rich Ukrainian Easter traditions implied making a real masterpiece of every particular egg. Depending on the master’s desire and skills the hard-boiled eggs may be colored by natural dyestuff (onion husk, beets etc.) or have handmade ornaments made in Petrykyvka, Gzhel and Hochloma style. These styles were named by Ukrainian villages famous for their masters making paintings in their unique colors and tracery. Ukrainian ladies are very creative in making their special ornaments on the eggshells. Of course, those who have not much spare may choose among lots of various ornaments on a shrinkable polyethylene coverings.

Egg fight

After visiting a church in the morning to have all traditional dishes of the day sanctified the entire Ukrainian family sets up to a breakfast table. The meal starts with the Paschal eggs which imply an entertaining tradition. People hold their boiled eggs tight in the fists and try to break the opponent’s egg by beating it. That person who has his egg undamaged after the “fight” is considered a winner and can take away the egg of a defeated person. Of course, if you win a lot of such “battles” you may leave the eggs to the vanquished as you may not be able to eat all your trophies 🙂

Making festive bread

Making festive bread is another exciting process uniting Ukrainian ladies and their children in the kitchen. Easter cake called “paska” is a sweet bread covered with a whipped egg white on its top. Modern traditions include many variations of cooking this delicious cake. I personally like to make it with candied fruits and raisins. The top of the egg white you may decorate with colored sugar drops, figures of chickens and flowers made of sugar paste. According to Easter traditions, it is allowed to eat the sanctified Easter cakes throughout the whole week after the festive day. No need to say that the cake becomes a bit dry with the time and therefore tastes better when filled with delicious pineapple pieces and raisins.

Greetings of the day

Easter is a holiday of benevolence and family union. Therefore, all the close friends, relatives, neighbors and sympathetically intended people exchange their sanctified dishes (usually painted eggs and Easter cakes). They also greet each other on the day using a traditional saying: “The Christ has resurrected!” – “Let’s praise Him!” And then follows one more tradition which I hope you will like… everyone kisses each other thrice on cheeks 🙂

Lighting of the Paschal Candle

On Easter day, the other age-old tradition is the lighting of candles of Easter. As per customs, on Good Friday churches put off all their candles as a sign of mourning. On Easter people bless and light up the Easter Paschal candle. It symbolizes the celebration and the welcoming of Jesus Christ back into our lives. The term Paschal comes from the word Pesach. It means Passover in Hebrew. The Paschal candle signifies Jesus Christ as the light of the world. It also represents His divine presence amidst the people praying for Him.

Time for joy

Easter is a day of happiness and hope, therefore people celebrate it by sharing love and warmth with one and all. Keep in mind, that after the Easter day the Orthodox Christian traditions allow the men to court Ukrainian ladies freely, to gift them presents and finally to propose and celebrate the wedding. More about the Ukraine wedding traditions you may find following this link:

https://blog.ukrainebridesagency.com/ukraine-101-ukraine-wedding-traditions

Are you about to propose to your lady this spring? I would be glad to get to know this in comments to the post! Do not miss the moment, the Easter is coming soon!

 

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