Even though the Western world has already celebrated Easter, according to Orthodox tradition in 2016 Easter is observed on May, 1. There are some similarities in observing the holiday in both cultures but there are also a lot of significant differences that will surprise you. Here are some interesting facts about Orthodox Easter you didn’t know:
- In Russian & Ukrainian Orthodox tradition Easter is called Pascha.
- Orthodox Easter is one of the most important holidays of the year for both religious and secular people alike.
- Pascha usually falls from one to five weeks later than Catholic Easter. This fact can be explained by the difference in calendars. Orthodox church follows Julian calendar, Catholic on the other hand have been using new Gregorian calendar since 16th century.
- Preceding Orthodox Easter is a 40 days long Great Lenten fast during which people aren’t allowed to eat meat, fish, eggs, dairy products, and alcohol. Easter Sunday marks the end of the Great Lenten.
- Right before Easter there’s a tradition of attending Easter mass where people bring Easter baskets filled with special holiday foods (Pascha bread, Kulich, colored eggs, ham, cheese, wine and salt) and have it blessed by the priest. These foods will make the first meal on Easter Sunday marking the end of the 40 day long fast.
- Colored eggs in Orthodox tradition represent new life as well as Jesus’ tomb.
- People prefer decorating their own chicken eggs using natural methods (boiling eggs in onion peels, clover leaves, parsley, saffron, cumin, etc).
- Russian and Ukrainian people often visit cemeteries on Easter Sunday. They are paying homage to their deceased relatives and loved ones by placing colored eggs, Pasha bread and flowers on their graves.
Celebrate Orthodox Easter together with RussianFlora.com and send your dear ones wonderful spring flowers and Easter gifts to Russia, Ukraine, Belarus or anywhere in the world!