A Trip Down Memory Lane: An Orthodox Easter in Russia
Happy Easter, to everyone celebrating the holidays in April!
The Easter holidays are celebrated in honor of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, as mentioned in the New Testament of the Bible. It is the holiest of days for Christians both in the East and the West. However, Easter or Pascha are celebrated on different dates by both sects since the churches use different calendars to calculate the date.
Artem and Hafsa are two of our interns at GMD. This week Hafsa had the opportunity to interview Artem about the Easter celebrations in Russia.
Artem Felinko, a student of Master’s in Business Administration at Università degli Studi di Torino, comes from Russia and was glad to share his memories of traditional Orthodox Easter celebrations from back home.
How do people greet each other on Easter?
Are there any special greetings or customs you observed in Russia?
You’re probably aware of the traditional Happy Easter greeting here in the west, but back home we also use another common greeting. In Russia, it’s common to greet each other with “Christ is risen!” and respond with “Truly risen!”. Some people also exchange Easter eggs or small gifts as a sign of goodwill.
What is your favorite Easter tradition? Something you really miss since you’re now far from home.
Back home Easter was a big deal, a big celebration and I miss a lot about the holidays but my favorite Easter tradition is dyeing and decorating eggs with my family. We use different techniques, like wax-resist dyeing or painting, to create intricate designs on the eggs. It was a fun way to celebrate the holiday, get creative and spend time together.
What did your Easter holiday look like growing up, were there any games or other activities you were fond of?
As a child, Easter was always an exciting time for me! We would attend church services and then come home to a big feast with family. After the meal, we would go out to meet with friends and have fun with them.
Is there a special Easter feast? The traditional meal on Easter in your area?
We have the traditional Easter feast, it’s called “Paskha”. It’s a rich, creamy dessert made from cottage cheese, butter, eggs, and sugar, and often flavored with vanilla, raisins, or almonds. It was a delicacy which we used to make at home. It was like Easter wasn’t complete without Paskha! We also typically have other, probably more popular pastry – “kulich” (a sweet, rich bread), and colored eggs.
Were there any family traditions you always did during the Easter holidays?
As I remember, one family tradition we always did was making and sharing Paskha with our neighbors and friends. We would also decorate our house with flowers, and light candles to symbolize the resurrection of Christ.
How long do Easter celebrations last in your area?
Well, typically Easter celebrations last for several days, with many people taking time off work and school to spend time with family and friends. The Monday following Easter Sunday, known as “Bright Monday,” is also a public holiday, and many people continue to celebrate and attend church services throughout the week.