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Easter in Russia

Easter (PAskha)
Now let`s talk about one of the most important Russian holidays in Russia, that is PAskha or Easter. I think it is the only religious holiday that somehow survived and was celebrated even during the Soviet times. Thanks to the generation of great-grandparents and grandparents, many Soviet children, including myself, even though raised in the atheistic environment, knew about Easter traditions such as coloring or painting eggs, baking kulich (a special Easter yeast cake with nuts and raisins) and making paskha (a cottage cheese cake shaped as a pyramid). 

The Russian Orthodox Church celebrates Easter according to the Orthodox calendar, and it can occur in April or May. This year it was celebrated on 20th April. 

The Russian Easter service may be attended even by those families that do not regularly attend church. Russian Easter service is held on Saturday evening.  On Easter morning and throughout the day people congratulate each other by saying  "KhristOs VaskryEs" - Christ is risen, and the reply is "VoIstinu" or "VoIstinu voskres" - Indeed or Indeed He is risen. Eggs are exchanged among friends and neighbors, together with good wishes for the occasion. It is considered that Easter egg given from the heart will never spoil. 

Children often play games with the eggs. One common game involves 2 players, who hold an egg each. They knock the eggs together forcefully, and the winner is the person whose egg doesn`t crack!
True Easter eggs: 

  • Easter eggs are considered to be a sign of hope, of new life. 
  • True Easter eggs are hard-boiled, dyed or coloured in bright colours (The pysanky and krashanky - decorated or coloured Easter eggs) , and often well decorated. Though nowadays it is popular to use special stickers or wrappings on the eggs 
  • Easter eggs are often boiled in onion peel to get the special red and brown colour. 

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