: Egg tapping and blood of Christ: Easter traditions in Ukraine and Europe

19:47 Apr. 30, 2016

Egg tapping and blood of Christ: Easter traditions in Ukraine and Europe

UNIAN Photo.

Orthodox and Greek Catholic Christians prepare to celebrate the holiday in their own special way

Ukraine and Eastern Europe prepare for Orthodox Easter, or Paskha (in Ukrainian), which this year takes place on May 1. This celebration is somewhat different from the Catholic holidays in the West.

Ukraine has a long established traditions of celebrating Paskha. According to the recent polls, most citizens consider this event to be their favourite holiday of the year.

On the Easter day people greet each other with words: 'Christ is risen!'. The traditional response is 'Truly He is risen!'. Just like in the Catholic countries, eggs have a very important part in the solemn feast organised for the holiday. They are usually painted in different colours and consecrated in church during the divine service. Egg tapping game is also common in Ukraine.

Read also Poles revive folk Easter traditions

Another traditional part of the celebration is Paskha itself. It is actually a baked cake decorated with glaze and sprinkles. One must necessary eat at least one piece of Paskha. These traditions are shared by Ukraine, Belarus and Russia, and other Orthodox countries.


Visitors look on the large Easter eggs painted by different artists during the opening ceremony of 'Ukrainian festival of Easter eggs' at Sophia Square in Kyiv, Ukraine, on April 23,2016. (Getty Images)

Bulgarians like to paint Easter (or 'Velikden' in Bulgarian) eggs in red. They believe the colour represents the blood of Christ and the morning sun. So these eggs must be painted first. The main dish is always lamb, which symbolizes the Lamb of God who died and rose again.


A woman looks at painted eggs offered for Easter at an open-air market in Sofia. (AP Photo)

Romanians bring their dishes to church. After the service they are shared among the poor. In the night of Easter young women follow a special ritual. They dip a part of a bell in water. Then they use the water to wash their faces. They believe it helps them stay beautiful during the year. Another 'liquid tradition' is followed by young boys. They carry bucket filled with water and if pour it onto sleeping girls. This is a sign the girl will marry someone this year.

In Moldova Easter is one of the biggest holidays of year. The celebration begins during the night, when parishioners visit churches. In morning the feast begins. Paskha cakes are also a traditional dish on the table.

In other Orthodox countries like Armenia and Georgia there are also distinct rituals. Armenians call Easter Surb Zatik. They prepare a big tray where seeds will grow. It symbolizes spring and awakening of nature. Georgians serve special pitcher with wine. The main dish of the feast is either fried lamb or pig. Traditional songs are also part of the celebration.


Hundreds of red eggs and a Christian cross are seen during an Easter mass at the Armenian Orthodox St. Sarkis Church in the town of Varna. (AP Photo)

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