Russian Easter

There are many feasts, which Russians like to celebrate. The main is the spring feast Easter. It is a light and kind feast brings belief, hope and love.

Approximately 5 thousand years back Judaic tribes celebrated this spring day as a feast of calving of cattle, and then Easter was connected with beginning of harvest, later - with leaving of Jews from Egypt. Christians have enclosed other sense of this day and celebrate it in connection with resurrection of Christ. The First Ecumenical council established day of commemorating of Easter in 325 year: the first Sunday after the first spring full moon. Then it was decided to transfer an orthodox feast for one week after Jewish.

The event of resurrection of Christ has taken place in the third day after death of Jesus, not earlier than the first hours after sabbatical day. Prophets and Jesus predicted it. This day there was a great earthquake; angel came down from heavens, threw away the stone from a door of a coffin and sat on it. When devout women among whom there was also Maria Magdalena came to pray at a coffin, the angel has announced about Resurrection of Lord.

When Jesus has appeared he was accepted as a gardener and when the Magdalene has recognized him, He ordered to go to apostles and to inform them that have come to pass both the death and Resurrection of Christ. Maria obeyed and has gone, and on road told to everyone about large joy of Resurrection of Christ. The Resurrection of the God's Son defeated death of flesh and opened the way for spiritual life.

Easter for Christians is transition from death to eternally blessed life. Word Pasqua is Jewish one, it means passing with the Christ to other life, deliverance from death. In ordinary meaning, Easter is meant as sacred week of Resurrection of Christ during which, the Holy gates in churches remain open meaning that now Resurrection of Christ opened heaven for all.

The Quadragesima previous to Easter abruptly changes mode of life of religious Russians. In old times within first week of Fast any entertainments, theatrical representations and music were forbidden. Only public bathing houses operated. Nowadays only deeply believers follow these strict rules.

They say that Christ and apostles during forty days wander on earth in beggarly vestment. They test human mercy, award kind and punish greedy and malicious.

Last week of the Fast is called Holy Week. Eve of Hoy Week is called Palm Sunday, a holiday of Entrance of Lord to Jerusalem. In Orthodox temples during a liturgy consecration of twigs of willow take place - this is to remind about palm twigs with which the way of Savior to capital of Judea was covered. Everyone try to get some twigs to put them by icons till next "Willow Sunday".

On eve of Easter people cook special dishes, they bake rich Easter cakes, make Easter cottage cheese cakes and paint eggs. Usually eggs are painted on Saturday, and then on Saturday are brought to the church to consecrate. There are a lot of different Easter cakes.

All paschal week people feast with rich meal with meat, eggs and other meal that were not allowed during 40 days Fast. Celebratory tables burst with many different dishes.

Egg is the main paschal symbol of resurrection as and egg brings new essence. There is an old Russian Easter tradition - in this day people greet each other with three times kisses and with words "Christ arise!" At paschal greeting and salutation believers give each other red eggs. This custom comes from old times. When Maria Magdalene came to emperor Tiberius, she brought him as a gift a red egg with salutation "Christ has arisen!" Red color " is color of blood on the cross that Christ shed for atonement sins of the world.

In order to dye eggs it is possible to use fuchsine, onions peel, and bright scraps of silk. In different regions Paschal eggs has own ornament and manner of drawing.

For coloring eggs it is the best to use onion peel, which is gathered in advance. Depending on color of peel coloring of eggs vary from bright red to dark brown. If you want color to be more saturated take more peel and boil it about 30 minutes. To protect eggs from cracking during boiling add into water some salt. Do not place cold egg (from a fridge) into boiling water; let them to warm during half of hour.

There is way of painting eggs " in a speck ". For this purpose wet eggs are crumbled in dry rice, then are wrapped in gauze (the ends of a gauze densely should be fastened by a thread in order rice stuck to the egg). Then eggs are boiled in a dying solution in usual way. In order painted eggs shone, they should be wiped dry and grease with sunflower oil.

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