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Religious Russians Prepare for Easter During Passion Week

9. April 2012 by Dasha 0 Comments

Easter may be over in the States, but in Russia and Ukraine the festivities are just getting started. Thanks to the Orthodox calendar, this year Eastern Europe will celebrate Easter on April 15th.

Though Russian and Ukrainian women celebrate Easter in various ways, common traditions include preparing pascha and kulich, two kinds of sweet Easter bread, creating pysanky, exquisitely decorated eggs that are famous around the world, and attending Easter basket blessings and family feasts.  However, Easter isn’t all fun and games for Orthodox Christians. The week between Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday is known as Passion Week, a time when devout men and women stick to a strict fast in preparation for the Easter holiday.

“Passion Week is the road upon which the Lord suffered for the salvation of humankind,” Hieromonk Dmitry Pershin, a representative of the Russian Patriarch’s Office, said in an interview with the Voice of Russia. “It is a time when we temporarily forget about our own sins and keep our minds entirely on God’s great sacrifice.”

Passion Week honors the events that lead up to Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection – Judas’s betrayal (Wednesday), the Last Supper (Thursday), the crucifixion (Friday), and Jesus’ burial (Saturday). Many Christians believe that fire miraculously appears on Christ’s sepulcher in Jerusalem on Holy Saturday, and hundreds travel to the city to see the miracle with their own eyes.

Yesterday (April 8th), Orthodox Christians observed Palm Sunday, a day honoring the afternoon Jesus entered Jerusalem a week before his crucifixion. The day is known as Palm Sunday because residents of Jerusalem greeted Jesus by covering the road in palm fronds. Next Sunday (April 15th) Orthodox Christians will celebrate Easter, the day Jesus was resurrected.

Don’t forget to wish your special lady a Happy Easter! Though the holiday has come and gone here in the States, Easter is still a week away in Russia and the Ukraine. Why not surprise your sweetie with an Easter e-card or an Easter Gift Basket?