Easter 2023: all the traditions of the main church holiday in Ukraine

Maria ShevchukLife
Ukrainians love Easter because of its rich traditions

Easter is a favourite spring holiday of Ukrainians. It always means the arrival of spring, and it is also full of traditions that unite people.

OBOZREVATEL tells you what is customary to do on Easter. And what significance it has for our people.

The meaning of Easter

The Resurrection of Christ, also known as Easter, is the biggest holiday in the church calendar. Its date is transitional, and this year Orthodox Christians celebrate it on 16 April, and Catholics on 9 April.

On this day, the Church commemorates the Saviour's victory over death. After being crucified on the cross, Jesus rose from the dead on the third day. This marked the hope of mankind for salvation and the forgiveness of all past sins. The holiday coincides with the revival of nature after winter and the arrival of spring, which only enhances its symbolism.

Easter is preceded by a long seven-week fast with very strict food restrictions. It ends on the holiday and a period of feasting and celebrations begins. In particular, the ban on weddings is lifted.

Easter traditions

On the eve of the holiday, believers spend a week preparing for the biggest religious holiday of the year. A week later, on Palm Sunday, willow branches are blessed in church, and then they start dyeing eggs and baking Easter cakes, the main dishes of the Easter table. During Holy Week, you should also observe the strictest fast. Special days in this week are Thursday, which is also called Maundy Thursday - this is the day to finish cleaning the house for the holiday, and Friday - the saddest day of the Christian calendar, because it was on Friday that Jesus was crucified.

Churchgoers begin to gather for a special Easter service on Saturday evening. It lasts all night and during it, Easter baskets with Easter cakes, dyed eggs and other foods are blessed.

In the morning, when the service is over, everyone returns home and sits down together as a family to eat a symbolic meal, to make peace and to congratulate each other on the holiday. Eggs are traditionally eaten first.

All day long, people visit each other, exchanging Easter greetings, giving Easter cakes and dyed eggs. Greetings on this day are customary in a special way: "Christ is Risen," and to answer: "Truly He is Risen".

Children and adults alike enjoy playing with Easter eggs on this day. Two people take an egg in each hand and knock them against each other. The one that survives is the winner. There is also a sign that you should try as many Easter cakes as possible, cooked by different people, to bring good luck and health until the next year.

The custom of sharing at Easter also encourages believers to give alms to those in need. All charity is also welcome.

A week after Easter, the memorial days begin. It is customary to visit deceased relatives at the cemetery and bring them Easter cakes, eggs and sweets. This symbolises the hope of meeting loved ones after death.

Easter prohibitions

Since Easter is the biggest religious holiday of the year, it is recommended to devote the whole day to rest and joy, and any work, even simple work, is prohibited.

It is also important to fill the Easter basket correctly. It should not contain dangerous items such as knives, alcoholic beverages, fruits - neither vegetables nor fruits, any material values, animal blood dishes, salt, etc.

Under no circumstances should evil thoughts and words be allowed on Easter. We should not quarrel with each other or scold children. The day should be spent in peace and harmony.

All the consecrated food must be eaten. They should not be thrown away.

Also, you cannot get married on this day. It is forbidden to get married in church on Easter.

Previously, OBOZREVATEL told in detail what you can and cannot put in the Easter basket.

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