Easter in Ukraine

Easter is coming up here in Ukraine (May 2nd) — a beautiful holiday, whether you celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ or the coming of spring, warm sunny weather and rebirth of nature.

Here are some local Easter facts and traditions.

The Russian word for “Easter” is “ Пасха”, the Ukrainian — “Великдень”. The holiday follows a 40-day fast (Великий пост (Ru.) / Великий піст (Ukr.)) when Christians abstain from all animal products in their diet. The last week of the fast is the most important one and is called “Страстная * неделя (седмица)(Ru.) / Страсний тиждень (Ukr.)” — Holy Week.

*Comes from the word “страсть”. Now it is translated as “passion”, but it used to mean “suffering” (страдание), powerful and turbulent emotion.

Today is “Чистий четверг (Ru.) / Чистий четвер (Ukr.)” — lit. “Clean Thursday” when people thoroughly wash themselves and clean their homes. It is said that during the clean-up something useful that had been long lost will be found.

This is the day to make the traditional Easter pastry “паска (пасочка)” or “кулич”. (more on those + a raw vegan recipe here)

It is also the Easter Egg (писанка, крашанка) painting day. Our wonderful “pysanka” expert Maria will tell you all about that:

“Good (Holy) Friday” is called “Страстная пятница (Ru.) / Страсна (Велика, Свята) п’ятниця (Ukr.)”. On this day Christians mourn the death of Jesus. It is a day of a very strict fast (no food at all), little activity and much praying.

On Holy Saturday (Великая суббота (Ru.) / Велика субота (Ukr.)) Christians go to church to serve the Easter Vigil and to “holify” (освятить (Ru.) / освятити (Ukr.)) (sprinkle with holy water) their Easter eggs and “пасочки”.

Sunday is finally Easter. Christians celebrate the resurrection of Christ and greet each other with “Христос воскрес! (Ru.) / Христос воскрес! (Ukr.) — “Christ is risen!”, replying “Воистину воскрес! (Ru.) / Воістину воскрес! (Ukr.) — “Truly! He is risen!”. We also say “Happy Easter!”: (Поздравляем) С Пасхой! (Ru.) / (Вітаємо) З Великоднем! (Ukr.)
People break their fast with Easter treats and spend time with their family and friends, gifting each other with “pasochka”s and “pysanka”s.

Have a wonderful Easter! 😊

Learn more about our traditions and master Ukrainian or Russian with ALMA School