Today is “Clean Monday,” the start of Lent for Orthodox Christians around the world. Pascha, Orthodox Easter, is celebrated on May 1.
As an American married to a Greek, I have been celebrating Pascha for many years. We raised our children to learn about both of our Easter traditions – from the Easter Bunny and chocolate eggs to flying kites and dying red eggs; from Easter egg hunts and baked ham to lighting candles and roasted lamb. We read lots and lots of books about Easter, but not one of them shared the story of Pascha. Until now.
Catherine’s Pascha, written by Charlotte Riggle and illustrated by R.J. Hughes, is a beautiful children’s picture book that shares the special traditions of an Orthodox Easter celebration.
The story is told from the perspective of Catherine, a young girl determined to stay awake for the midnight church service. The reader is taken along for a wonderful introduction to the sights and sounds of the Pascha celebration – from the lighting of the candles, to the smell and sound of the censer, the greetings and responses during the service, the feast from the pascha baskets, and the popular egg cracking game. Catherine’s excitement is contagious, and the spirit of the holiday shines through.
This is a wonderful book to share your own cultural traditions, or to learn about new ones.
Suggested Activity: Students compare Catherine’s Pascha to their own Easter traditions.
Be sure to visit the Catherine’s Pascha website
- purchase the book
- read more information about Pascha and its traditions
- find recipes, and tips for making traditional red eggs using natural ingredients
- check out some fun activities and crafts
- print worksheets and coloring pages
- access Sunday School and literary analysis lesson plans
- read a very interesting article about The Ukranian Pysanky Egg
- and more!