Easter in Ukraine

Easter in Ukraine

Do you imagine celebrating Easter somewhere in a restaurant? Frankly speaking, I do not. In Ukraine, Easter is traditionally one of the most family-close celebrated and honored holidays. 

Since my childhood, I remember all my family gathering together at the big table, greeting each other “Christ has Risen!” answering “Indeed He has Risen!” and children playing eggs-fighting. It is the tradition that was handed on the lamp for generations. Here are some glimpses of Easter celebration.

Before this great Holiday most of the Christians keep the fast. According to Ukrainian tradition, it means not to eat meat, dairy products and eggs, but most important in the fasting is to live in peace with your fellow-beings. At the Holly week of the fast, which is the last week before the Easter, there is a traditional preparation week, which begins on Sunday. It is Yew Sunday, which in Ukraine is called Willow Sunday because people usually go to the church, bringing branches of the willow. According to the tradition, people bring branches of the palm, and in Ukraine as a symbol of a palm tree is a willow tree, because it is the first that has green leaves in spring. 

Then comes Passion Week  - a week of the strengthened fast. It is the week of the thorough preparation to Easter, especially religiously. Every day is celebrated as a step that brings us closer to crucifixion and then to Resurrection of Jesus.

But let’s talk about the Clean Thursday. Traditionally, all housewives usually clean their houses and bake Easter cakes (bread) at this day. Oh, baking an Easter cake is a special process. I remember my granny always remained in silence alone in the kitchen, in order not to have negative thoughts, but to have pure mind and heart together while doughing, because Easter cake is prepared with the prayer. This tradition was handed down to our family as well. Here are some cakes that we have made this year.

Another fascinating memory is how exciting was for us as children to paint the eggs. We coloured them with the peels of onion, putting different kinds of leaves on them to decorate. We continue doing it in the same way now.

Friday is considered to be the silence day, the day of crucifixion.

Though till Saturday all the preparations should already be done according to the traditions, but we in our busy time modern housewives continue their preparations. Saturday is still considered to be “silent” till the descending of Jerusalem flame, which symbolizes the presence of the God in our lives, and is transmitted around the world from Jerusalem.

At midnight people usually go to the church to celebrate the Resurrection, bringing their Easter cakes, decorated eggs and other different food to bless before they eat them.

Blessing of Easter food
Easter cakes and eggs blessing

There are different ways of celebrating Easter. Perhaps, the most important tradition is to bring love to each other…

Written by Julia

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