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Easter, the day of Jesus' resurrection is considered the biggest event in spiritual life of a believer.

easter kulich
"Easter Kulich" see recipes

Last days of Week - Maundy Thursday, spiritual purifying, Good Friday, Jesus sufferings, Holy Saturday, the day of sorrow and at last Blessed Sunday had a symbolical effect on folk tradition, rites and Easter table. Many beautiful traditions, dated for Week, existed in the Rus. So, Maundy Thursday is also called "clean", not only because every Christian tries to adopt sacrament in his soul, but the purifying by water was widely spread - people swam in river ice-holes or poured cold water on them until sunrise in banyas. In the north, there was a tradition to gather juniper twigs, burn them and fumigate houses. healing juniper smell protected a man and an animal. People believed that an egg laid on Maundy Thursday protected from illnesses. Eggs were painted at this day as well.

Christianity gave new meanings to the egg, it is considered as the symbol of resurrection. Eggs were traditionally painted in red color, as it means the joy of resurrection and revival of mankind, but it is also the colour of the blood shed on the cross by Jesus Christ. Since then there is a tradition to present different painted eggs at Easter. The simplest way to paint eggs is by onion husk. Boil eggs in onion water for 10 minutes and they'll a beautiful colour. On the Easter day priests came to houses of the faithful and served public prayer. All relatives and friends visited to congratulate each other during this day. They were invited to the table to enjoy Easter dishes. The table groaned with food: ham, pancakes, baked leg of veal, drachona, cold boiled pork, turkey, paskha, kulichi, painted eggs.

"Paskha" see recipes
Paskha, Kulich and painted eggs are principal rudiments of meat food, they are consecrated by church at Easter day or overnight after Great Saturday liturgy. Paskha is a symbol of God's grave, made from tvorog (farmer's cheese) in the form of truncated pyramid.

Easter table couldn't be without Kulich, holiday ceremonial bread. Kulich was decorated by Easter lamb, made from butter or sugar. Easter lamb is a symbol that reminds of sacrificial death of Jesus Christ as the atonement of all the sins. Lamb is a necessary attribute of Easter table. Guests usually brought chocolate eggs for children. Easter Sunday was usually devoted to charity. The nobility attended hospitals, prisons, orphanages and presented food, clothes and money to poor paupers.

easter lamb
"Easter lamb"

Revelry, exultation and gaiety ruled everywhere. People greeted each other with a phrase: "Jesus is arisen!", kissed three times and presented red eggs. But kids and youth had fun most of all, they played "bitki" (beaters). Two participants beat eggs of each other with egg tops. The winner, whose egg was kept unbroken, was recognised lucky and got an egg of the loser as an award. The holiday lasted all the next week and, the table covered, people invited all quests, especially poor comers to taste some holy food. At nightfall violinists walked around villages and played music in honour of Jesus Christ, the host gave a glass of vodka and presented eggs in response.

Have a joyful Easter!

Jesus is arisen!

By Olga Timokhina

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