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Orthodox Easter Traditions

Orthodox Christians in Greece, Russia, Bulgaria, Ukraine, and other countries around the world are preparing to celebrate Orthodox Easter, or Pascha.

Church services, decorating eggs, playing games and eating traditional foods are typical parts of the celebration.

Orthodox Easter

Orthodox Easter: The Date

The Orthodox church uses the Julian calendar for determining Easter (compared to Western churches using the Gregorian calendar), which usually results in Orthodox Easter falling later than Easter.

Orthodox Easter: The Eggs

Decorated eggs are an important part of the Orthodox Easter tradition. In Greece, the hard-boiled eggs are dyed a bright red. Romanians paint hollowed-out eggs in traditional colors of yellow, red, and black – as well as a variety of other color combinations and patterns.

Ukrainian Easter eggs, pysanky, are beautifully decorated using a wax resist method. Russian Easter eggs made of wood are painted with traditional designs, churches, and other images on them.

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The Vegreville egg is a giant sculpture of a pysanka in Alberta, Canada.

People of all ages enjoy playing Easter egg games.

Eierpecken

  • Egg Cracking Competition – players take turns tapping the ends of their eggs.  The person with the last un-cracked egg will have luck for the year.
  • Easter Egg Roll – players roll their eggs down a hill and try to crack another player’s egg while keeping theirs intact.

Orthodox Easter: The Feast

Family and friends gather to feast on traditional foods. Roasted lamb is one of the most popular meats served on Easter. Easter breads featuring eggs are common across many cultures. Easter Bread Recipes Around the World

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Tsoureki


To learn more about Pascha, Catherine’s Pascha by Charlotte Riggle is a wonderful picture book that shares the special traditions of an Orthodox Easter celebration through the eyes of a young girl. Read our review here. Visit Catherine’s Pascha website to order the book and to find lots of great Pascha resources, including paschal greetings, recipes, activities and more.

Pascha

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