Ukrainian Easter traditions and customs

For Ukrainians, Easter is a greatnational and family holiday. It means meeting with relatives and friends at the family table and enjoying paska (babka) and krashanky.During pre-holiday preparations, you have time to do a lot of important things for which there was no time before.

So, onEaster Eve,Ukrainians make large-scale preparationsinvolving both physical labor and mental work. There are manyomens and warningsthe ancestors of modern Ukrainians believed and which are still relevant today. Diligently preparing for the Easter celebration means all your true dreams with good intentions will come true.

How Ukrainians prepare for Easter

The preparatory work can be divided into 3 stages:Great Lent, Maundy Thursday, andGood Friday.

1. Lent: body and soul purification

TheGreat Lentstarts immediately afterMasliana andlasts 7 weeks. During this period, religious people do not eat many usual menudishes.Among them are:

– meat and meat dishes and broths;

– fish (however, sometimes, on non-strict days, fish dishes are allowed to eat);

– eggs anddishes fromthem;

– dairyproducts, including cheese, sour cream, kefir;

– sweets and flour products based on butter, eggs, and milk;

– alcoholic beverages (can be consumed only on non-strict days).

The meaningof keeping GreatLent lies in the aspirationto know oneself. People who can overcome the temptation of food can more steadfastly resist othertemptationsin worldly life.

2 HolyThursday: household chores

Maundy Thursdayfalls on the last week before Easter. On this day, housework is in full swing: it is necessaryto do ageneral cleaning andhave a wash. Ukrainian ancestorsswam in open water, but modern Ukrainians prefer totake a shower or a bath. This is the so-called second stage of purification, which also includes spiritual cleansing.

The preparations for the festive table begin on Maundy Thursday as well. Ukrainiansmake the dough for Easter breadandcolor eggs. Those who follow the Great Lent can drink red wine and eat a few slices of bread.

There are a number of restrictions on this day. So, makingnoise, quarreling, and fortune-telling arestrictly prohibited.

3 Good Friday: the day of thecrucifixion of Jesus Christ

The next day, Friday is the strictest and saddest dayin the entire preparation processfor the Easter celebration. On this day, singing, dancing, and having fun are forbidden. It is believed that in case you disobey, tears and misfortunes await you.

OnGood Friday, Ukrainians attendchurch services, pray, and fast. All thoughts are about thefate of Jesus Christ. Adults are not allowed to eat until theEpitaphiosis taken out (approximately until 16:00-18:00). Alcohol is also prohibited.

Resurrection of Jesus Christ

Divine servicesare held from Saturday to Sunday, andafter midnight, the church bells announce the beginning of theEaster service. This festive service lasts until the morning, and at the end ofit, a ritual takes place toconsecrate baskets with foodlike paska, painted eggs, and other treats.

The next day, Monday, is a public holiday in Ukraine. Therefore, some Ukrainians try to go to famoustemples. The route often includes a visit to

– the Holy Assumption Pochaiv Lavra in the Ternopil region,

– the Transfiguration Cathedral in Chernihiv,

– theKyiv-Pechersk Lavra or Kyiv Monastery of the Caves, and many other famous sights.

When meeting, it is customary to exchange Easter greetings.When a passerby says, “Christ is Risen!” the other answers, “Truly Risen!”.They then kiss three times and exchange colored eggs.

Authentic Easter meals

And, of course,authentic dishesare the most important elements of the Easter celebration. These are the yeast paska in the form of a tall cylinder decorated with powdered sugar or icing, cottage cheese paska, and decorated eggs. These edible symbols are exchanged with loved ones and given to those in need. Later, 9 days after Easter, there is aMemorial Day, when paska, krashanky, and other dishes of the Easter menu are brought to relatives’ graves.

As you cansee, Ukrainianculture istruly unique. And such a great holiday as Easter perfectly demonstrates thedepth and value of traditions for every Ukrainian.