The Tale of Two Easters

Easter is the holiday which we associate with nature rebirth - bright colors, sunshine, smiles and cheerful traditions.

The date of celebration is not fixed and differs depending on the confession. Catholics celebrate it according to the Gregorian or Solar calendar. Orthodox follow Julian or lunar-solar calendar. Celebration of Easter for these two main streams of Christianity coincide just 1/3 of the time.

There are only about one million people in Ukraine, who are Catholics, usually these are citizens of Polish ancestry who lived mainly in the central and western regions, they will be celebrating Easter on March 31st this year. Most of Ukrainians are Orthodox and will be celebrating Easter on May 5th.

Not only the date differs, but also the way people celebrate Easter is different too. Catholics have wonderful tradition of Easter bunny and egg hunts. Every child knows that a cunning bunny is master of hiding eggs in the garden and house. However, this tradition is not well known in Ukraine. If I ask my mother about it, she will make wide eyes and will have no idea of what I am talking about.

Pysanky (painted eggs) is also something special. This is what even children and adults can and like to do together. They simply take markers or brush and paint anything they want on eggs. Usually, these are bright pictures of spring, sun, trees, flowers, animals, some ornaments or anything that could come to a child's mind. Adults also take part in this entertainment as this is such a great opportunity to feel like a kid again. To dye Easter eggs naturally, Ukrainians often use yellow onion peels and beet juice.

7 weeks preceding Easter is the time for traditional fast. This way traditionally abundant Easter dinner gets even more special. Many people visit church services at night and early on Sunday morning. They bless their eggs, Paskhas and each other, saying "Khrystos Voskres", traditional reply is "Voisitnu Voskres". It is common to exchange baskets with tasty food or symbolic toys.

May all the blessings in the world be showered upon you and fill your life with delight, happiness and peace. May your friends and family in Ukraine have a peaceful Easter.

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published