Easter is considered to be the most important day in the annual calendar of church holidays. This bright day symbolizes the Resurrection of Jesus Christ after his crucifixion and the unconditional victory of life over death. Like many other holidays in the Ukrainian culture, the celebration of Easter is accompanied by the preparation of a large feast with peculiar dishes.
Ukrainian custom to set the table on Easter
Each region and village in Ukraine has peculiarities of celebration of the Resurrection of the Lord. But the basis is always the traditional customs that were followed by ancestors.
So, before sitting down at the festive table, the master of the house would pick up a plate of food that had been consecrated earlier in the church. He walked around the table three times with this plate, stood facing the icons, cut several eggs, and gave family members and guests a piece on the spoon or knife’s tip. Usually, the celebration was attended mainly by family members, although friends and acquaintances with sincere intentions were also welcomed in the Ukrainian house.
48 festive dishes for Easter
If we talk about meals, they were distinguished by their richness and variety. Ukrainian housewives knew the secrets of how to cook tasty and appetizing-looking dishes that attract the eyes of guests.
According to traditions, 48 dishes should be present on the Easter table – this is how long Lent lasts. It is not customary to serve hot meals. The fact is that the hosts finished all the preparations on Saturday evening and went to the festive church service, which lasted from sunset to dawn. Therefore, cold appetizers and meals prevailed, including homemade sausage, saltison, kholodets, suckling pig, and other dishes prepared in advance.
The main treat was put in the very center of the festive table. There were paska (babka/Easter bread) and colored eggs. They have always been the key symbols of the Easter celebration for Ukrainians and attracted the most attention: eggs impressed with their variety of colors, and paska is unique with its tall cylindrical shape and decorations like braided dough ornaments or powdered sugar glaze on top.
Red wine is the traditional alcoholic beverage on the Easter table. The church cahor is the only wine suitable for church needs. It is prepared to remind church parishioners about the atoning sacrifice of Christ.
Favorite Easter meals on the Ukrainian table
Kholodets is a hearty dish resembling aspic or jelly. It is a frozen meat broth with pieces of meat. This dish can also be cooked with the addition of fish or vegetables.
In order for the dish to eventually freeze, gelling ingredients must be added when preparing the broth. According to the traditional recipe, these are the bones and cartilages of animals, namely the pork legs, tails, skin, ears, and head. You need to use these ingredients only during boiling and remove them from the broth before it sets. Only meat pieces are added to kholodets.
You can see more cooking tips and step-by-step recipes on our blog by the “kholodets” tag.
There is an abundance of other meat dishes on the Easter table. The pork roll is one of the favorites of many Ukrainian families.
The cooking process is quite simple: mince the meat and mix it with spices and herbs, then carefully roll up the meat using the foil or waxed paper, sealing the edges. Then bake the roll until tender (approximately 50 minutes of baking for every 1 kg of meat).
The hardest part is choosing the right piece of meat. It must be boneless and of high quality. Pork tenderloin, gammon, or shoulder is the best option.
Homemade sausage is a flavorful and hearty dish of Ukrainian cuisine, a favorite in every family. It is prepared from poultry, pork, beef, as well as offals.
At first, it may seem that cooking homemade sausage means the need completely acquire Ukrainian culinary skills. But, in fact, everything is not so difficult: it is enough to follow a simple instruction once and evaluate the fantastic taste of the prepared appetizer.
So, choose a recipe based on the main ingredient and cook homemade sausages with us:
– Traditional pork sausage – a recipe of pork and salo with the addition of spices and garlic;
– Liver sausage – a very delicate recipe based on salo and liver, which resembles the famous French pate;
– Blood sausage – a rather extravagant but very popular type of homemade sausage in Ukraine.
So if you want to celebrate Easter in Ukrainian style, then cook several traditional dishes or at least one. Give it a try – you will love the taste and atmosphere of Ukrainian Easter celebrations!