What is the Russian Orthodox Easter?
Orthodox Easter Day in Russia, also known as Pashka, is a widely celebrated and important holiday. Orthodox Easter, or Pashka, is celebrated differently than here in the United States. While chocolate and bunnies aren’t apart of the traditions, it’s an important day for families to get together and celebrate the rising of Christ.
When is Pashka Celebrated?
Orthodox Easter Day is typically celebrated the following Sunday from the Easter observed in the United States.
Pashka celebrations begin 40 days prior to Easter Sunday with 40 days of Great Lent. During those 40 days, it is tradition to follow a fast, including no consumption of meats, dairy products, and certain oils. The last Friday before Pashka, also known as Good Friday, those who observe the holiday are not to consume food or beverages until the evening.
How is Easter Prepared For?
The Monday prior to Easter commences the Holy Week. This is the time where the homes are thoroughly cleaned and prepared for “Clean Thursday”, the day where Easter eggs are colored. Saturday will consist of cooking the meals (that cannot be tasted while cooking!) to be shared for Sunday’s dinner and then attending a church service to have the food blessed. The church service will begin during the evening and go until dawn. At midnight, the bells will ring to announce the resurrection of Christ!
Finally, Pashka has arrived! The day to indulge in special traditional meals. Cuisine often consists of a typical breakfast, such as eggs, a special kind of yeast bread known as kulich, and pashka, a cottage cheese cake. This day is about gathering with family and celebrating traditions. Greetings will consist of 3 cheek kisses and exchanging the Easter eggs that were decorated on Thursday!
Beyond dining, the day is spent playing games with the eggs, such as rolling them down the hill and seeing who’s didn’t break! As with everything in Slavic countries, Pashka is a day focused around quality family time and celebrating Christ.