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May 05, 2005

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Will Baird

FWIW, Ukrainians seem to do it too. My wife spent some time explaining various traditions as we hosted some guests: none of said guests were Orthodox. Actually one was a midwestern protestant. Another was a chinese buddist. The last was an mixed race agnostic. Ah, California. :) It was fun: lots of traditional Ukrainian dishes munched on by all.

Bojan

This is customary in Serbia, too.

Andrew Reeves

Were the references to the risen Christ kept in Easter celebrations during the Communist years?

Marian

Yes, the customs were well alive during communist years. Not officially of course, the Easter was competing with 1 May (the labor day). Actually in spite of it, I believe the Church attendance at the Easter midnight mass was very high. On a regular day strolling on streets well after midnight could get you in big trouble with the police (it was called militia, the police was a capitalist ugly word). So for the teenagers Easter was a good opportunity to do something that was not allowed on a regular day, and with very little parental supervision too. The more mature people, who lived through the brutal repression years in the fifties, were more cautious. But us those who were teenagers in the '80 Easter night was something we were looking forward to. This way we got to know more about the biblical story too. Not all communist countries were the same, in Poland I believe the Easter (the Catholic one) was an official holiday, with school break and everything.

camu

We do that in Germany too.

Syd Webb

My only experience of Easter in an Orthodox country has been Greece. My take on it is that it is the big holiday with gift-giving, cards and travelling up-country to feast with parents that we in the Antipodes associate with Christmas, instead.

Is the big Easter celebration a feature of life in other Orthodox countries such as Serbia and Romania?

[In Australia the correct response to "Christ is risen" is "He is risen indeed." No eggs are harmed in this exchange of greetings. Truly the world is a very big place.]

Jussi Jalonen

"Is the big Easter celebration a feature of life in other Orthodox countries such as Serbia and Romania?"

Syd, Easter is _the_ Orthodox holiday, everywhere in the World.

Even in those countries where the Orthodox faith is only a minority religion, the Orthodox Easter traditions still have a very visible impact. Here in Finland, even the Lutherans eat pasha during the holidays; and the Lutheran church has also adopted some old Orthodox Easter rituals, the Escort of the Cross around the Churchyard as the most visible example.

The so-called "egg tournament", by the way, is pretty much a universal sport. Over here, it's known as "liitsaus", and is also one of the Easter traditions. The goal is to break the shell of the opponent's egg while keeping your own intact; the winner gets both eggs. The Christian invocations aren't part of it, however.

(As I've previously mentioned, the resident Orthodox Church also follows the Gregorian Calendar, so we had our Easter celebrations already over a month ago.)

Cheers,
Jalonen

Ange.

That's common in Serbia as well! I thought it was really interesting.

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