13 April 2007

Easter

I know--I was supposed to post this yesterday...or, better still, last week.

The thing is, like Christmas, the communists really did away with Easter. Unlike Christmas, they didn't move the traditional celebrations to a non-religious holiday. There is not a big celebration. Only two of my Russian friends celebrate Easter.

Easter in Russia is a religious holiday--and it is only for the religious. (Ann Marie and Zach's translator said, when I expressed surprise that Easter would not alter their visitations, "It's not like this is a Muslim country".) The city moves around as normal. This is strikingly different from my time in the UK. There, Good Friday and Easter Monday are always bank holidays. Everything is closed. Here, it's life as usual.

Some old traditions:

Homes are cleaned prior to Palm Sunday. On Palm Sunday, you bring pussy willows to church to have them blessed. Then you bring them to your home.

Eggs are dyed using red or yellow onion skins. (It's the Ukrainians who have a tradition of beautifully and intricately painted eggs called pysansky. DAWN--speak!)

Eggs are...shrink wrapped with decorated sleeves. (You put them on the eggs and then pour boiling water on them.) These eggs are best for the cracking game. It's a little like conkers in the UK. You tap the eggs together and whichever egg breaks first loses. I've heard this explained by Russian friends, but never seen children playing it.

An Easter sweetbread (kulich), is baked in a tall cylinder shape. It's then decorated with white icing and sprinkles, and the letters XB meaning "Christ is risen." (Christos voskres.) It's served with pashka (a soft, sweet, cheesy pudding--think light, thick cream cheese filling...sort of). There was a LONG line of Babushkas at Okey on the Saturday before Palm Sunday patiently waiting for the white eggs to go on sale. It takes 10 egg yolks to make one kulach!


Easter mass is celebrated at midnight the night before.

That's really all I've found by living here...

I hope your Easters were happy!

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ah, the egg cracking thing is big with the Greeks too. I always lose...

6blessings said...

Our Russian babysitter brought us colored eggs with plant imprints on them. She told us of the cracking game. She also brought the sweet bread with icing and sprinkles. However, there were no letters on it. She had baked them in tin cans previously used for corn, etc. The bwins and I were the only ones who ate it. I thought it was unique. Some of our "loaves" had raisins in them.

Hope you find answers soon to your agency problems.

votemom said...

i have a beautiful wooden easter egg from russia. i had to email my russian friend to figure out what the letters meant. i think it's an awesome traditional symbol.

how cool that you got to be a part of your friend's adoption journey of her new daughter!

Melissa said...

that bread sounds tasty. Challah bread is also made with a lot of eggs.