Easter in Russia
Easter is the day or resurrection of the Son of God, Jesus Christ. This particular religious holiday has always been especially dear to Russians. It has transformed from being a purely ecclesiastical into a truly national holiday, the day of love, harmony and unity with the loved ones. Easter is rich in different traditions and rituals. There's no better way to experience them than to visit one of Russian monasteries, where they uncover the whole beauty of the Easter celebrations for you. You will learn to cook traditional symbols of Easter – the Easter cake (kulich) and paint eggs. Kulich (or Paskha) is high round bread made of sweet dough. It symbolizes the body of resurrected Christ and is served as the main decoration of the festive Easter table. The eggs symbolize the blood of Christ and his resurrection. On the night before Easter every Orthodox Church and monastery in Russia holds Easter service. The main service is held in the metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the Savior. Specially delivered there is the sacred flame from the temple of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem. With the candles lit from the blessed fire the priests march in the ceremonial procession around the temple. Easter morning begins with the chiming of the church bells all over the city filling the souls of the believers with radiant with joy.
After the service comes the time to perform the rite of "Easter greetings": giving out painted eggs and cheek kissing with the words: "Christ is Risen!" - "He is Risen Indeed!" and prepare for the festive meal. Easter marks the end of the Lent so all the guests are treated with an abundant feast. In olden times the meals were generous indeed: the fattest chicken, geese, and even pigs, out-of-basement pickles and marinades, all kinds of baked goods. These traditions are observed today as well. On Easter Day every household has abundant meals and the doors are open for all guests.