Celebrating Easter in Russia

russian easter egg

Russian easter egg

Commemorating the resurrection of Christ after his crucifixion is celebrated in many ways in different cultures. The different in the varieties of Easter across the world can be seen in particular in Protestants and Roman Catholics. Today the Eastern Orthodox Christians predominantly in Russia follows a slightly different rituals. Though that were rites and rituals were laid by the Eastern Orthodox Church, the first difference is the date of Easter celebration. Julian calendar versus the Gregorian calendar, and that makes about thirteen days of difference. The Russian had Easter services all through Saturday night, in the Easter vigil commemorating the buried Christ. At the stroke of midnight, the priest comes out of the inner sanctuary saying three times, ‘Christ is risen!’ and the worshippers rely ‘He is risen indeed!’

The Russian Easter Egg

Symbolizing the new life, spring rebirth of the earth, the Easter egg represents the emergence of Jesus from the tomb and his resurrection. Since the 13th century, eggs were formerly a forbidden food during the Lenten season. These eggs are painted and decorated to mark the end of penance and fasting, thus eating them only on Easter as a form of celebration. By dying or painting, hard-boiled eggs are dipped in food coloring. Some eggs are hollowed out with a needle and blowing out the contents before decorating them.

Russian Kulich Easter Cake

This is an important part of the Easter traditions as the colour red symbolizes the blood of Christ. Eggs are cracked using nails and that is symbolic too. The family Easter dinner is a community affair at the Church, it is a sumptuous feast celebrated by all. Kulich is an Easter cake that is baked traditionally. They also make curd paskha to be blessed by the priest and shared amongst the community during the celebration.

Pascha observed by Orthodox Christians

Russian Pascha

Russian Pascha

Other than the special food and customs, the decorated eggs tradition was dated back to the pre-Christian times. Eggs were seen as fertility symbols other than a device of protection. This symbolism is the same for how red is seen as the blood of Christ, the same for Orthodoxy as the Christian. The Easter breakfast includes the Easter bread called Kulich, a dish called Paskha made from cheese and some other ingredients. This pyramid shaped dish with eggs and others are blessed before eaten. They do so by the priest or church. At some homes, each egg is cut into pieces, one for each member of the family at the Easter table.

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