A Russian Easter
Easter is an important holiday in Russia and and like many countries in Europe, Russians celebrate Easter with decorated eggs and special foods and customs.
The Russian Easter egg tradition dates back to pre-Christian times when people saw eggs as a symbol of fertility and also as a device of protection. When Orthodoxy was adopted, eggs took on Christian symbolism and became absorbed into new celebrations.
Russians celebrate Easter with an Easter breakfast or Easter meal. Foods include ‘kulich’; a Russian Easter bread, ‘paskha’; a dish made with cheese and other ingredients and often formed into a pyramid shape, and of course, eggs.
Traditionally, the food may be blessed by the church but this is not always the case, especially nowadays. Other traditions include cracking the egg with a nail as a reminder of Christ, or sharing one egg cut into multiple pieces between a family at the Easter table.
If you are visiting Russia during Easter, streets may be quieter than normal and many places will close as it is more frequently a family time than a time of loud celebrations or big parties. It may be nice to take the time to visit an Orthodox church for an Easter ceremony which are reputed to be, “beautifully elaborate, hauntingly somber and yet at times uplifting and hopeful, it is an amazing experience.”
Russian Language Tip for Easter:
If you do end up going to a church service, you may hear two phrases being repeated often. Even if you don’t go to service, you will still hear these phrases around for a while after Easter. Here are the two phrases and their meanings; if somebody says the first to you, it is considered polite to respond with the second.