Privet! Russian Easter is coming up this weekend on Sunday, April 12th, and I’m wishing all of you a belated and early Happy Easter! As you know this is the time of year when the famous Russian/ Ukrainian eggs are decorated to then be distributed amongst family, friends and even strangers. I will admit that I am not the type who attends church often, but this weekend I will be at one of the Russian Orthodox churches to celebrate, and hopefully have something blessed whether it is eggs, wine or a traditional Kulich (it’s like an easter cake, which my mom called a panetone the first time I brought one home when it was given to me by my boyfriends mother after attending his church- he’s orthodox, and I’m catholic). Celebrating easter in an orthodox church is an interesting experience. There are a few things that I’ve learned from my own experience that I’ll be sharing that could be helpful to you that is if you ever decide to visit an Orthodox church (like the famous Russian St Basil!!), or are invited by a friend.
The first things are all about what to consider wearing to the church, if you are a woman you have to cover your hair. You cannot pass on this, or else you risk making every babushka angry with you. Scarves can make for great head coverings. I’m already trying to chose which one of my scarves I’ll use..and this year I think I want to use my silk scarf from Egypt that was gifted to me from my aunt…because it is light weight, and easy to put on and it stays put.
Second wear comfortable shoes, unlike in a catholic mass where there are pews for you to sit (well you do a lot of standing, and kneeling there..but still)- in orthodox church the seats are only for the elderly, and disabled. Plus mass can last for up to 3 hours, and at one point during the night you will be walking around the church three times, in the dark while holding a candle. Trust me comfy shoes, will ensure that your feet will not ache, and that you will not trip and set the person walking in front of you on fire! Anyways just wear modest clothing if in doubt, and try not to show off any shoulder, or too much skin :). I do love the part of walking around the church, just because I love the combination of nightfall and candles.
Anyways it is not easter without the eggs! Eggs hold a symbolic meaning in Christianity in general for they symbolize the empty tomb of Jesus. Just think of the egg as a metaphor for being a “tomb” with it’s shell, and birds hatch from eggs, which is like how Jesus rose from the grave. etc. And eggs also symbolize re-birth/ new life in a lot of European countries. But asides from a religious context, decorative eggs can be given out as a token of love, and well wishing to family, friends, etc. Plus the decorative eggs inspired the famous Faberge eggs that took Imperial Russia by storm! By the way back in the day eggs would be dyed using natural products such as fruit, and even onion skins! Now a days there is dye for that, and stickers to put over boiled eggs with images of patron saints. I am including a link of how someone has chosen to dye and decorate their eggs using the old country method with onion peels, and another link with a recipe for Easter cake/ bread/ kulich, enjoy 🙂