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.
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.
People of all ages enjoy playing Easter egg games.
- 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!)
Easter breads featuring eggs are common across many cultures.
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.