Easter is one of the main religious holidays in Russia that concludes the 48-day Great Lent, during which believers confine themselves to food and entertainment. In Russia, this is truly a national holiday, its traditions are observed not only by believers, but also by many atheists.
One of the main religious holidays for Russians is Easter. Orthodox Christians (and they are more than 70% of the population in Russia) believe that this day Jesus Christ, the son of God, who came down to earth to atone for the sins of mankind, rose from the dead. Easter terminates the Great Lent, the forty-eight day period, during which believers confine themselves to food and entertainment.
The last seven days before Easter are called Holy Week. It's time to put things in order in the house, prepare for the holiday, remember the biblical events and prepare treats. Easter itself is always celebrated on Sunday. On this day the Russians congratulate their friends and relatives on a bright holiday. It is necessary to say: "Christ is risen!", to which you will be answered: "Verily He is risen!"
In Russia, this holiday is celebrated so widely that its traditions are observed not only by believers, but also by many atheists.
A great role in the festival is played by the Holy Fire, which miraculously appears in the main temple of all Christians, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in the Israeli city of Jerusalem, every year on this day. They use the Holy Fire to light candles and lamps, and then with the observance of numerous ceremonies deliver them to other countries. In Moscow, the lamp with the Holy Fire is transferred to the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, where the head of the church celebrates a festive divine service at midnight from Saturday to Sunday.
It is customary to prepare a special treat for the Easter table. The main dish is kulich, a sweet yeast dough product, sometimes with the addition of raisins and other dried fruits. Some bake them themselves, others buy them: you can buy kulich in any supermarket on Easter eve. It is believed that kulich must necessarily be consecrated - carried to the church for them to sprinkle it with holy water and read a prayer over it.
Another traditional Easter dish is paskha. It is made from cottage cheese, sometimes adding raisins, nuts and candied fruits. The cheese paskha is always made in the form of frustum of pyramid that symbolized the Holy Sepulcher.
Another Easter tradition involves painting boiled chicken eggs. Some use for this purpose special food grade dyes. Others just boil eggs with onion skins. They offer painted eggs as little souvenirs to friends and family members.
By the way, they say that this tradition inspired the renowned Russian jeweller Peter Carl Fabergé to create his famous Fabergé eggs made of gold and decorated with gemstones. A series of 74 Easter eggs was made to the order of the Russian Imperial family. Today, these pieces are exhibited in the world's best museums.
Easter does not have a fixed day for celebration. The day is calculated individually for each year. As a rule, it is celebrated in April or early in May. It should be noted that each Christian denomination has its own formula for calculating the Easter day. But sometimes people of several denominations may celebrate on one and the same day. For example, in 2017, the days of Orthodox and Catholic Easter as well as the holiday of Pesach (Passover) were celebrated on one and the same day. A very rare case.