orthodox easter

Catholic vs Orthodox Easter Traditions 101

Spring is here, and it’s almost time for Easter, Christianity’s most important holiday which celebrates Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. You probably know the Catholic and Christian Easter traditions have mixed religious practices with pastel eggs and chocolate bunnies. But the Orthodox world has its own very different ways of celebrating the holiday. Below are 5 main differences between Catholic and Orthodox Easter traditions you should know.

Orthodox Easter Facts You Didn’t Know

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!

Orthodox Easter Gift to Moscow, Russia

Let the resurrection joy lift us from loneliness and weakness
and despair to strength and beauty and happiness.
~Floyd W. Tomkins

Easter, one of the most important holidays in Orthodox church is almost here! This beautiful spring festival featuring colorful Easter eggs, traditional dishes kulich & pascha, fresh seasonal flowers and Easter gifts is beloved by both children and adults. Bringing rebirth and renewal to peoples lives Easter is joyfully observed all across Russia, Ukraine and other eastern European countries. If your family members, friends or business associates celebrate Orthodox Easter, make sure to send them your seasonal greetings with a bright and delicious gift that will demonstrate your dear recipients how loving and thoughtful you really are.

Orthodox Easter Eggs in Russia & Ukraine


Easter is one of the most important religious observances of the year in the Orthodox calendar. This holiday is not just a celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, it brings people peace, joy, and hope. Both children and adults are looking forward to a big family feast held on Easter Sunday that falls this year on April 12, 2015, featuring numerous Easter treats including Easter bread Kulich, Paskha, and of course Easter eggs.

Easter Eggs Tradition

Easter egg decorating is a tradition shared by many cultures throughout the world, from children using stickers and vegetable dye, to professional artists creating sophisticated and elaborate designs. Though now, egg decorating is associated with the Christian Easter, the roots of the tradition go back to over 60,000 years ago in Africa and about 5,000 years ago in Egypt. The pagan ritual of welcoming spring, with the egg being a symbol of fertility and revival, was later adopted by Christians.

The tradition of dyeing Easter eggs started in the beginning of the 17th century. Traditionally Orthodox Easter eggs are dyed in red, the color that is symbolic of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Red signifies his blood, the shell represents the tomb, and the cracking of eggs is the release and the resurrection.

Later the tradition of coloring eggs for Easter has evolved, using more complex designs and techniques, and especially spread throughout the Slavic communities, including Russia, Ukraine and other Eastern European countries.

Krashenki – Orthodox Easter Eggs Tradition

Krashenki are Easter eggs painted in one color. Initially, Orthodox Easter eggs were red, orange, or brown, and only later such colors as yellow, green, blue were used in decoration patterns. Orthodox Russians and Ukrainians used edible herbs, as well as local or exotic plants to prepare dyes for Easter eggs decoration. The first natural dye (widely used to this day) was made by boiling onion peel in water. Green dyes were prepared from clover leaves, parsley and rosemary. Yellow dyes from saffron, cumin, weak broth of onion peel and lime tea steep.

Depending on the method of Easter eggs decoration in Orthodox tradition, different techniques were called Krashenki and Pysanki. Later, the Russians and Ukrainians started to make Easter eggs either very simple or sophisticated and exclusive made of precious metals and stones.

Pysanka – Ukranian Easter Eggs

Traditional Ukranian Easter eggs, pysanka, are ornately decorated eggs that use the wax-relief method. These eggs are embellished with traditional Ukrainian motifs, including the Orthodox cross, plants, birds, and other objects of nature. This ornaments have originated during pagan times as a ritual, celebrating the god of sun and rebirth. Later when Christianity came to Ukraine, egg decorating was adapted as an Easter tradition.

The Pysanka Easter eggs are surrounded by legends and superstitions, especially as a way to scare away evil spirits. Each design and color has their own meaning. Each family would usually have at least 50 eggs on Easter Sunday to give away as gifts to relatives and friends.

Fabergé Eggs in Russia

The best known decorative Easter eggs were made in Russia by well-known jeweller Peter Carl Fabergé. Fabergé was first commissioned in 1885 by Russian Tsar Alexander III who wanted to give his wife, Maria Fedorovna a special Easter gift.

The first commissioned Imperial Fabergé egg was simple at first glance: a realistic looking egg made of gold coated in white enamel. Inside the egg there was a gold yolk, that also opened and contained a minute golden hen with ruby eyes. The hen also opened to reveal a tiny egg shaped ruby pendant.

The tsarina loved the gift so much that her husband made it an annual Easter ritual to present her a new Fabergé egg. Their son continued the tradition, commissioning two new eggs each year for both his mother and wife. About 50 unique Easter eggs (known as the Imperial Eggs) were created by Fabergé for the royal family between 1885 and 1917. All Fabergé eggs were created from gold or other precious metals, decorated with gemstones, and covered in a thin layer of translucent enamel. Each with its own unique intricate design, the tiny eggs opened, hiding a surprise inside.

For more Easter gift ideas please visit www.RussianFlora.com

How to Make Traditional Orthodox Easter Basket

Easter, or Paskha, is the most important feast of the Orthodox Church. Orthodox Easter is a joyous celebration of the resurrection of Christ and many religious and secular traditions surround this sacred holiday.

The essential part of celebrating the feast is giving traditional Easter baskets to family members, friends and other significant people in our lives. Although buying ready-made Easter hampers online might be the easiest, some people still prefer to make traditional Easter baskets on their own. For those creative here are some simple tips on how to put together a traditional Easter gift to Russia for your dear ones.

Traditional Easter Baskets: History

The traditional Easter basket has its roots in Pennsylvania Dutch and Eastern Orthodox Christian customs of setting out bonnets stuffed with dry grass, and filing them with colored, hard-boiled eggs, and in some cases, various meats or candy. The idea of filling baskets with foods prohibited during the Lenten Fast evolved into the practice of filling Easter baskets with treats and goodies. Traditional Russian Easter baskets now include all the foods usually served during Easter, especially those that were abstained from during Lent, each item representing a religious aspect of the holiday.

Step 1: Choose your basket

A traditional Orthodox Easter basket makes a great gift for the host of an Easter get-together, or a distinctive centerpiece for a gathering in your own home. To put together an Easter basket, you will need an appropriate container that can adequately fit whatever goodies you wish to put into it. Keepsake wicker hampers are traditionally used for Easter gifts. Once you have chosen your basket, line it with white or pastel color cloth, which will be tied over the top later on.

Step 2: Fill in your basket

Start placing larger items first. The Easter bread (pascha), a beautiful, golden loaf of wheaten bread, is the centerpiece of the basket. Pascha is usually round and decorated with a cross or a braided crown symbolizing the Biblical notion that Jesus is the Bread of Life. Next, add a bottle of red wine, which symbolizes the Eucharist, the cheese, and the meats, representing the richness and bounty of Easter’s blessings.

Start positioning smaller items around the larger ones. First, place colored eggs (pisanki), symbolizing new life and resurrection, followed by sweets, suggesting the promise of eternal life or good things to come, and butter to represent the abundance and cheer of the holiday. Traditionally, horseradish is also included to symbolize the bitterness of Christ’s suffering.

Step 3: Decorate your basket

When all the food articles are placed in the basket you can tie the white cloth over the top. Then place a candle in the basket (to light during the blessing of the basket before the meal) and tuck it into a corner of your tied cloth so it stands up above the basket’s edge. During the blessing of the foods, the cover is taken off the basket to display the foods and a white candle is lit as a symbol of the Light of Christ.

Celebrate spring and send best wishes to the important people in your life with wonderful Easter gift baskets to Russia, CIS and around the world!

For more Orthodox Easter gifts ideas please visit www.RussianFlora.com

Floral Orthodox Easter Sweepstakes 2013

Join RussianFlora.com in celebrating Orthodox Easter 2013 on the 5th of May by participating in our annual Easter Sweepstakes Contest!

Get a chance to win a lovely spring flower basket now!  It’s easy!

Just visit and like our Facebook page and fill out the Sweepstakes registration form until April, 28. The winner will be announced on May, 5. For more details about the contest please see the official rules.

Good Luck!

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