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Easter traditions in Russia


Considered as one of the most significant holiday amongst Christians, Easter observes the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. The festival is commemorated with great magnificence and enthusiasm throughout the world. Different countries celebrate the occasion through different ways though some rituals are common to the entire globe. Easter has great significance in Russia. They celebrate Easter by attending religious ceremonies and eating traditional foods with family and friends. The Easter season in Russia begins six days before Easter Sunday as most of the Russian Orthodox Christians observe the Lent period.


Russia has an amalgamation of Western Christians and Eastern Orthodox Christians and hence, celebrates Easter according to both the ways. However, taking into consideration the fact that even the basic thing of celebration, i.e. the date of the festival is different for both the sects; the task seems to be quite tough. While the Eastern Church follows the Julian calendar, the Western Church employs Gregorian calendar. Another major difference is that while the Western Churches hold Easter as a sunrise service, for the conventional Eastern Churches, it takes place all through the night.

In Russia, Easter celebrations date back to the time when two holidays were given during this time, known as Judaic holiday or ‘Pasah’. Every year, Russians celebrated the onset of spring for about a week. This holiday was dedicated to the release of Jews from the Egyptian slavery. Presently, Easter celebrations in Russia start with Great Lent, on the Monday after Maslenitsa, during which special church services take place, followed by fasting. For most of the Russians, Easter is more of a holiday for enjoyment than a day for following customary traditional activities or religious solemnizations.

A unique Easter ritual in Russia is the picking of pussy willows, practiced by every household. In this custom, the neighbor or loved one of a person pierces the branch of the soft blooms, kept on the latter's shoulder. The other traditions followed in Russia on Easter include coloring eggs in bright and vibrant colors and Easter egg rolling contest, where eggs are rolled from the tip of a slope. The one that reaches the base without breaking is regarded as the winner. Special delicacies also mark the festival in Russia. Special recipes, like pancakes, paska and Kulich, are prepared and eaten in every Russian household, on Easter.