About the Ukrainian Easter Celebrations

March 15th, 2012
Written by Elena

 Easter time, from the carnivals that come before the Lenten fast through Holy Week and the celebrations of Easter, is a special season in Ukraine.

This year the Easter in Ukraine is on Sunday, April 15, 2012

Ukrainian Easter is called Velykden (that means the Great Day). Two weeks following the Catholic Easter Holiday is the main Christian Orthodox Holiday established to honor the Resurrection of Jesus Christ following his crucifiction on the cross and to the coming out of the Jews from Egypt. The date of Easter is usually determined by the Church calendar and calculated according to the so-called “Paskhalias” (the name for the “special tables”.) Before and during Easter people buy or bake Easter cakes (special biscuits with raisins), and hand paint eggs widely known as Pysanka or Krashenka.

Easter cake (’Kulich’) and painted eggs (’Krashanki’) are the symbols of Ukrainian Easter and obligatory food on the table this day. Kulich is baked from yeast dough in the form of cylinder. Krashanka is a boiled and painted egg. On this Day Ukrainian kids play their favorite Easter game: knocking the eggs. If you knock somebody’s egg and you egg is not broken than you are the winner. 

It is a very important holiday. On Easter night people go to their local churches, spending the whole night in Church praying and listening to the services! Usually Ukrainians take with them Easter cakes, painted eggs, sausages, salo, bottles of wine, and other food with also a knife and some salt in their baskets. In the morning (about 4 -5 am) the service concludes with the clergyman sprinkling all food with sacred water which is believed to give strong healing powers.

At this time people return home or visit their friends and relatives to continue the celebration with food and drink throughout the the day. The traditional greeting on this day is: “Khrystos Voskres!” or “Khrystos narodivsya”(Christ is arisen) and the answer “Voyistynu Voskres!” or “Slavymo Yiogo”(Truly arisen) followed with kisses and the exchanging small gifts.


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