I am proud to share these beautiful traditions from the country of my birth, Ukraine! Easter is one of the largest holidays in Ukraine with many traditions. Similar traditions are found in other Eastern European countries. Some who celebrate will do so this Sunday April 16. Many will celebrate next week on April 23 according to the calendar of the Orthodox Church.
Ukraine, along with other countries, is famous for elaborate decorated Easter eggs. There are two types of eggs, Pysanka and Krashanky.
Pysanka are made by first draining the contents of the egg out so that only the shell remains. Next some will sketch out their designs with hot wax before dyeing. Once the egg is dyed, the wax is removed, revealing a beautiful design. Others dye the egg, then chisel out a design by scratching the surface of the shell. Here is a tutorial on how to make Pysanka, opens a new window.
Krashanky are eggs that are usually one color and cooked to be eaten. My favorite is to wrap small herbs or leaves around the egg and then place the egg in the dye. After drying, remove the herbs to reveal a detailed floral pattern. Traditionally eggs are boiled in the skins of onions or in beet juice. I have gotten great results with boiling my eggs with blueberries. When we finally eat the eggs, we like to play a game where we challenge someone to see who's egg is stronger by hitting them together. You win if yours doesn't crack.
Check out this great kids book that was inspired by this tradition: P. Zonka Lays An Egg.
Families assemble Easter baskets that are taken to the church to be blessed. Celebrations can sometimes start the night before in a night long mass that ends at dawn in the morning. For more details of the symbolism of the food in the basket, check out this article on traditional Ukrainian Easter food, opens a new window. Also many people like to embroider cloth to put over the contents of the Easter basket.
A traditional greeting that is commonly heard around Easter time is "Christ is Risen." Many will respond with "Christ is Risen Indeed." Some will repeat this greeting three times in a row. This is used to symbolize the finding of the empty tomb.
One of my favorite Easter treats is a bread called Paska. I included a Paska recipe, opens a new window from a fellow Ukrainian here. Natasha's Kitchen blog, opens a new window is a great source for many Eastern European foods.
Thinking of all the millions who will not have a chance to gather with family and their communities for this holiday. To all who celebrate, Happy Easter!
Blog post created by Kristina C.