Easter preparations have begun in Russia and Ukraine as this Sunday is Palm Sunday and next Sunday is Easter.
"If you have the chance, get adopted for the weekend by a Ukrainian family who celebrates the traditional Easter holiday," suggests Lana Nicole, editor of What’s On Kiev.
"From the baking and cooking to the egg-making and even the cleaning of the house, to the 3am trip to church on foot in the dark, and then the gorging on the basket’s contents and more for the rest of the day, it’s a magical weekend."
If gentlemen members of HotRussianBrides.com don’t see their favorite ladies online as often as usual next week, it’s likely because they’re busy with all the rituals.
On Palm Sunday (April 28), or Verbna Nedilia, locals take branches from the country’s first blooming tree to church to have them blessed. Lara says pussy willows are much easier, and cheaper, to come by than palm leaves. Once blessed, they are placed behind icons at home.
By Holy Thursday (May 2), or Chystiy Chetver, ladies should have all chores and preparations finished.
"The house should be cleaned, work in the garden should cease, pysanky should be drying, all baking and cooking ready and Easter Sunday clothes should be put out for mass on the following Sunday, because once the sun goes down, no work should be performed," Lara explains.
On Good Friday (May 3), or Velykodnia Pyatnitsia, ladies attend services at church, where a plashchenytsia is set up representing the tomb where Jesus was laid to rest.
Holy Saturday (May 4) is a day of reflection and final preparation. Embroidered tablecloths are laid out, Easter baskets are filled, and the table is set for the feast the following day.
"Those who follow tradition will go to church late Saturday evening/early Sunday morning to have their baskets blessed, a tradition known as Svyachenia," Lara says.
These old Russian postcards illustrate some familiar Easter sights like greeting loved ones with kisses, playing the egg rolling game, displayed red eggs dyed with onion skins, and decorating the table with traditional Easter foods. There are also some silly ones!
Photos: wikimedia commons