Orthodox Easter Traditions

Orthodox Christians in Greece, Russia, Bulgaria, Ukraine, and other countries around the world will be celebrating Easter (Pascha) on Sunday, May 1.  Attending church services, decorating eggs, playing games and eating traditional foods are typical parts of the celebration.

Orthodox Easter

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 can be made of wood and 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 uncracked 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.

Family and friends gather to feast on traditional foods.

Roasted lamb is one of the most popular meats served on Easter.  My husband grew up in Greece where roasting lamb on a spit was a central part of the celebration, as seen below.  (He’s the one in red!)  Untitled design

Easter breads featuring eggs are common across many cultures.

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Tsoureki

Kulich

Kulich

Easter Bread Recipes Around the World


To learn more about Pascha, I highly recommend Catherine’s Pascha by Charlotte Riggle. It is a wonderful picture book that shares the special traditions of an Orthodox Easter celebration through the eyes of a young girl.

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Read my 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.

 

 

 

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