U.S.A., Washington State. USDA zone 8a. Sunset climate zone 5

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter everyone! You miss me, don't you? I miss you too. Since I am still in Las Vegas, I am reposting my 2009 Easter post.

Click on the pictures to enlarge them

I should confess that I lead a double life. I celebrate most of the major holidays twice: in accordance with the local calendar and in accordance with the Russian calendar. Major religious holidays come one or two weeks later in Russia since the Eastern Orthodox Church uses the Julian calendar while the West employs the Gregorian calendar. April 19th is the date for Orthodox Easter (Paskha) this year. There are some other differences. In the West, there are Easter sunrise services, while Russian Orthodox Church Easter services last all through Saturday night. The congregation gathers in the church or cathedral on Saturday evening and takes part in an Easter vigil commemorating the buried Christ. Easter egg decoration is an important part of Easter traditions in Russia. The predominant color for egg dying in Russia is red.

The red dye is chosen because it symbolizes the blood of Christ. My grandmother and mother, among others, used onion peels to make a dye reminding of terracota color.

Another part of Easter celebrations in Russia is the family Easter dinner following the worship services. The Easter dinner is a sumptuous feast, in which the entire congregation celebrates together. Russian people traditionally bake Easter cakes, known as "kulich," and make curd paskha. In Soviet times, people didn't celebrate Easter openly. But as I remember, almost every family that I knew had kulich and dyed eggs that day. We, children, used to play a game - whose egg is stronger. One kid holds an egg in his/her fist showing just a bottom part of it, another hits it with the sharp end of his/her egg. Then, the eggs are turned. Sometimes, upon agreement, the winner could collect "defeated"eggs. My grandma told about other games played in old times, like, for example, whose egg will roll down further from a little kid-made mound. I showed my boys how to play the egg game and they do that every Easter.

Below, there are eggs painted by them at school, here in Washington state, in their art class. Those are real eggs done using an old Russian/Ukranian technique. You can tell by their design that they were made by boys, not girls. One of the eggs even resembles a football!

Click on the pictures to enlarge them

There is no such thing in Russia as the Easter bunny and an egg hunt.

There is one more tradition in Russia I'd like to mention. On Easter day, people greet each other with the words: - Christ has risen! - Risen, indeed! After that, people kiss each other on the cheeks three times even if they are total strangers.
At the end, there are a couple of pictures with really big Easter bunnies. I checked with Snopes, and the images are real.

Herman weighs in at 22 pounds and measures a little over 3 feet. He is a breed of rabbit called German Giant (how appropriate!).This is his owner, Hans Wagner, struggling to hold him up. From the NY Post article: "We don't feed him an unusual diet," said Wagner. "He goes through more than his brothers and sisters, but he eats the same food mix. His favorite food is actually lettuce. He can never get enough of it. "LOOK AT THOSE FEET!

More pictures of giant bunnies are here

Happy Easter everyone!


  1. Thank you for telling us about the Russian celebrations. This is an interesting post and the decorated eggs look lovely.
    Have A Happy Easter x

  2. I remember the beautiful eggs and the enormous bunnies.

    Happy Easter to you and yours Tatyana

  3. Thank you for reposting this. I was not a blogger last year, so I didn't see it then. I love hearing about how different cultures celebrate. I especially love the greeting -Christ is Risen!! I think that is very appropriate! Hope you are having a wonderful trip. Happy Easter! Christ is risen!! Carla

  4. Happy Easter Tatyana! Both of them!

  5. Dear Tatyana, Of course you are missed. But I do so hope that you are having a wild time in Las Vegas and will be back before too long to tell us all about it.

    Your Easter posting is fascinating and I can recognise many of the traditions of Russia in Hungary today. I was alarmed at the size of the rabbits, much preferring the painted eggs.

    Thank you so much for the good wishes which you posted to me prior to my recent trip. Happy Easter!

  6. Hope you are having a blast and winning lots of cash.

  7. Yes, Tatyana. We miss you. Are you having fun? Of course you are. :)

    Happy Easter to you too!

  8. Have a Blessed Easter Tatyana. We too have that custom of greeting each other tommorrow with the words " Christ is risen - He is risen indeed " though we don't kiss each other - thats probably cuz we're British!

    Lovely coloured eggs - my mum brought me back an imitation faberge one from St Petersburg.

  9. Egg battles are part of the Ungardener's Swiss childhood too. Perhaps it is a Germanic, Nordic, Northern European custom?

  10. I've seen these eggs before and always wanted to make them. So amazing... and that rabbit is fabulous!

  11. Happy Easter to you as well, Tatyana. Lucky you, having two holidays to celebrate all at once this year. I hope you're having fun on your trip away.

  12. Those Russian eggs are beautiful. I hope you're enjoying your vacation in Las Vegas, and Happy Easter!

  13. The eggs are fab, so colourful. It's nice to hear about customs in other countries.

  14. Wishing you a very
    Happy Easter,

    RO xxx

  15. Happy Easter, Tatyana. Christ is risen indeed.

  16. Happy Easter! Those bunnies are indeed very BIG!

  17. Great bunnies. Can you imagine? They are like dogs. Your traditions are wonderful. I have always admired those eggs. A friend of my mother's is Orthodox and she has given her a few of them. Such intricate work. I hope your easter was great!

  18. Happy Easter!
    Wish you a blessed Easter to you and your family!
    What a great bunny.


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