April 15 Orthodox easter in Ukraine 2012
Easter is the most important Orthodox holiday of Ukraine. This is the celebration of the God’s Resurrection - Velykden in Ukrainian, is celebrated every first week after the spring equinox and full moon. That is the holyday that bears the basic meaning of the Orthodox faith - God himself became a man, died for us and being raised, saved the people from the power of death and sin.
This Orthodox feast merged with the folk customs and family traditions. The rule in Ukraine is to fast before Easter, even not strict. By tradition, it is not desirable to sleep in the Easter night. In the evening people go to church for vespers service, bringing in beautiful baskets the variety of foods in the Church – Paskha (sweet cream-cheese dish eaten at Easter), painted eggs, meat and food products, everything except vodka. In Orthodox churches, as a rule, Easter service begins at midnight. The solemn procession with the choir and the priest blesses and sanctifies all the dishes. Hundreds and even thousands of lights believers’ candles illuminate each church and the temple that night. It is indescribable beauty spectacle. After the service is over, the religious greet each other with the words "Christ is risen!" and go home to "razgoveetsya" - to eat Easter viands.
According to tradition, after returned home, the orthodox believers sat at the table. The meal started with Paskha, in spite of the culinary diversity on the table. It exactly took the center place on the festive table. Holiday bread – Paskha - is a symbol of the body of the Lord, and the egg, painted red, symbolized the revival of life in Slavs and other peoples. Painted eggs are one more obligatory festive Easter table decoration, these are 'Krashanky' (painted in one or several colors eggs), and 'Pysanky' (eggs painted with ornament), and 'Skrobanky' (eggs, on which the pattern is applied with a sharp instrument). The main theme of painting have always been floral designs in conjunction with images of rooster, sun, churches, etc.
Celebrating Easter in Ukraine continues for 40 days - exactly as much as Christ appeared to his disciples after his resurrection. Throughout the 40 days every orthodox believer should welcome with another with the words "Christ is risen!" and receive confirmation in response to these words, "He is risen indeed!" During this time, but especially in the first week people go to each other at home, give painted eggs and cakes, play Easter games. There are many Easter games. The most famous game is Knocking, when children and adults choose Easter eggs and knock them one on another. Whose is broken, those lost.
It is interesting that during the first week of Easter in all the churches is permitted to call bells to anyone who wishes.